Agartala, July 17 (IANS): At least six thieves were arrested as police and ONGC officials jointly busted a big pilferage and averted a major accident in Tripura, officials said here on Sunday.
However, the state owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation incurred a loss of Rs 2.5 crore on Saturday as the thieves damaged machineries at a drilling site at Gabordih, 25 km east of here.
"The burglars have tried to take away huge machineries, valuable parts of important machines and damaged drilling equipment," an ONGC Executive Director SC Soni said in a statement.
Acting on a tip-off, the State police and ONGC officials reached the spot and caught the thieves while they were trying to remove the machinery.
"Apart from damaging huge properties of ONGC, the incident delayed the plans to connect the wells with the gas collecting stations (GCS) by at least a month. Moreover, a major accident could have happened due to possible gas leakage from the site as the miscreants damaged the machineries."
Soni, who is also the manager of ONGC's Tripura assets, said there were four wells, including two new, at Gabordih with the new wells having gas potential of 1.5 Lakh cubic metres per day per well.
"The new wells are scheduled to be connected to a GCS of ONGC while the site was scheduled to be used by another rig of ONGC to undertake repair of old wells."
The official said the ONGC's intention was not to punish the villagers but to make them aware that it was highly unsafe to do any such activity near any gas well or pipeline. "It is not possible to post security personnel at all the 209 wells drilled by ONGC so far in Tripura rather the villagers are the best custodians and they should ensure that the national property is not destroyed by any miscreant," the statement said.
"They tried to take away the ONGC machineries and sell it to people who purchase old machineries. We are interrogating the men whether they are involved in any ogranised gang," police inspector Dipak Das, who is probing the incident, told IANS.