ONGC on Friday said it will provide compensation to the injured survivors and families of deceased and missing people who were onboard the chartered barge P-305 that sank in the Arabian Sea near the ONGC oil wells in Bombay High due to cyclone Tauktae on Monday.
The ONGC management has decided to extend an immediate relief of Rs 1 lakh to the survivors and Rs 2 lakh for the BNVs (Brave, Nature’s Victims) and missing persons’ families. ONGC has also set up a helpdesk and will facilitate the dependent family members of the rescued crew in providing logistics and expenses, it said in a statement.
“ONGC along with Indian Navy and Coast Guard are continuing with extensive search and rescue operations. ONGC pays its gratitude to all those who helped fight the calamity," it read.
“At this hour, we are looking at rescue and rehabilitation task. Our business partner Afcons who was operating the affected barges has been with us in this task. We are saddened by the events and express our deep sorrow at the loss of life and pay our tributes to the BNVs (Brave, Nature’s Victims). The combined rescue and search efforts will be continued for few more days and we hope that it will help us save more lives," it added
The statement came moments after Afcons, the private contract which had deployed the ill-fated barge Pappa-305, announced a compensation package for families and children of the deceased persons due to calamity arising from the Cyclone Tauktae.
Terming it as its “moral duty", the company in its statement said it plans to support the families of the deceased persons on its direct rolls and families of all deceased persons employed with its subcontractors. “We can never compensate the loss of a loved one, but in this time of grief, we hope we can relieve the financial loss faced by the family members,” it said.
AFCONS stated that it would ensure that the families of the deceased would receive a total compensation equivalent to balance period of service up to 10 years salaries through a combination of ex gratia pay-outs and insurance compensation. While the modalities of the payments are being worked out, it is estimated that total compensation would range from Rs 35 lakh and a maximum of Rs 75 lakh per family. The company added that it would also be setting up a trust to support the educational needs of the children of the deceased through scholarships.
The statement comes after a survivor revealed that barge Pappa-305, with 261 crew onboard, lost anchors and smashed into an unmanned platform before sinking in the Arabian Sea after its captain ignored weather warnings and chose not to move the vessel away from the path of severe cyclonic storm Tauktae.
Afcons, the private contract which had deployed the barge for performance of a contract it had got from ONGC, said all its vessels were on May 14 advised to secure their respective work locations and move to safe locations at the earliest.
There were 261 people on board and 51 of them are dead while 24 of them are yet to be traced.
(with PTI inputs)