Marine News, December 7, 2011: Leakage of crude palm oil through pipelines has put the marine ecology in the waters of Atharbanki near the Paradip Port in danger. Alarmed by this, the fisheries department is now urging the ‘Cargill India Vegetable Oil Refinery Plant’ located in Paradip to repair the damaged pipeline and pump out oil from the affected water bodies.

Subrata Das, Paradip Fishery’s officer said, “We found many dead fish in the water bodies of Atharabanki in Jagatsinghpur district and its neighbouring areas in Mahanadi River. The fish died due to asphyxia caused by the oil leak. We have directed the officials of the oil company to repair the damaged pipelines as soon as possible”.

The fishermen are facing lots of problems due to this oil leak as it is now affecting their livelihood. A fisherman from the Sandhakuda village, Kelu Charana Behera said, “It”s a matter of great worry that the fishes are dying. It is a threat to our livelihood.” However, a senior officer at the Cargill oil refinery claimed that there had been no major leakage of oil or any impending ecological disaster. He also confirmed that the leakage had been checked by stating, “We repaired the damaged pipelines on Tuesday”.

Two separate FIRs have been lodged in this case; one by the Cargill officials and the later by the fisherman’s association. A police officer of the Paradip police station, Anil Mishra said, “The official of the Cargill Company alleged that some locals drilled the pipeline to pilfer crude palm oil”. Refuting this claim the fishermen claimed gross negligence on the company’s part which caused the oil leakage.