Spilled oil

at least half a dozen legislators of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp) in Gujarat made scathing attacks on the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ongc), which comes under the Union ministry of petroleum and natural gas, for causing serious environmental pollution in the state, during the recent assembly budget session. They demanded stern action against the psu.

Oil leakage from ongc's Mehsana unit has become a regular phenomenon, causing serious damage to over 50 hectares of farmland in Jotana, alleged Ishwarbhai Makawana, a bjp legislator from the district. The psu is shirking from its environmental responsibility, said Arjun Modhvadia, the opposition leader. bjp legislator Pradeepsinh Jadeja asked, "If small industries are closed down for pollution, why should we not take similar steps against the big psus such as ongc?

Answering questions during the session, state environment minister Mangubhai Patel intimated that the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (gpcb) had served several notices to ongc and its management had agreed to compensate the farmers by rehabilitating them by May 15, 2006. " ongc management also agreed to construct three additional wells to dispose of the polluted substance, Patel said.