New Delhi: A major fire broke out at Assam's Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) on Saturday evening after a blast in one of its gas pipes. Disaster was averted after firefighters managed to douse the fire before it reached the reactors. No casualties have been reported so far.
Banned insurgent group ULFA has claimed responsibility for the incident, which occurred on ULFA's raising day.
The plant was shut down immediately as part of the disaster management drill of the company. A senior NRL official said that there was no casualty or injury as the plant was automated and there was minimum deployment of human resources in the area.
In an email, ULFA's central publicity committee member Joy Asom claimed that the outfit had carried out the blast with a 'Magnetic Time Device' on the occasion of its Raising Day.
Senior police officials, however, said "it is highly unlikely that it is an act of sabotage as the fire broke out in the middle of the plant area probably due to a technical fault.
The ULFA claimed that it had used the same device earlier in the Duliajan and Guwahati refineries last year but these too had been debunked by both police and refinery authorities since both were caused by technical problems.
The cause of the fire and the extent of the damage is yet to be ascertained.
With Additional Inputs from PTI