About 1,000 acres of land will be opened up for development with the Union Government actively considering a plan to shift the refineries of Bharat Petroleum Co Ltd (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Company Ltd (HPCL) out of Trombay in north-east Mumbai. Sources close to Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said the process was still at a “preliminary stage” but indicated that a formal decision would be taken soon. However, sources said under no circumstances would BPCL and HPCL refineries be shifted out of Maharashtra. Most probably, they would be relocated on the Konkan coast. A site near Alibaug is being considered for one of the refineries. The decision is apparently prompted by the fire at the Jaipur terminal of Indian Oil Company on October 29, 2009. The fact-finding committee, which probed the fire, had, among other things, recommended that oil and LPG installations be located away from dense human habitations, sources in HPCL stated. The BPCL refinery, which occupies about 500 acres, started operations in 1955 when Trombay was sparsely populated. HPCL, too, started its refinery activities nearby the same year. Over the years, the area has become densely populated. Lakhs of people living in the vicinity of these plants risk being exposed to industrial accidents. In fact experts believe that there is a disaster waiting to happen at Trombay and that’s why it will be the best if the refineries are moved out. Bureau report – NMTV News.

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