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The Delhi High court has restrained the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) from operating its oil depot, built near a village, till the safety measures are complied with by the company.

Hindustan Petroleum Corporation has been asked by the bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain to inform it about the steps taken by it on the suggestions made by the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) and fixed the matter for further hearing on March 20.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by residents of Tikri Kalan village where the oil depot has been built by HPCL. The villagers, in their plea seeking the shifting of the storage unit, alleged the oil depot would be a risk to their lives and properties. Advocate Indira Unninayar, appearing for the villagers, contended the oil depot will endanger their lives as it has been built ignoring the requisite safety norms.

The villagers also alleged the PSU, while planning the depot, did not maintain the necessary distance from the populated area. However, the PSU’s counsel argued HPCL has taken all safety measures and the depot is half a kilometer away from the village.

He also told the storage unit is ready and pleaded with the court to permit initiation of operations. The villagers also alleged the oil depot has been built by HPCL “dangerously close” to their where they live. The villagers in their plea also charged the depot would expose them to various risks from fire, explosion and accident and had cited the recent fire outbreak at the Hazira plant of Indian Oil Corporation in Gujarat on January five which had caused loss of lives and properties.

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