ONGC Barge Pappas tragedy: MVA seeks Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan's resignation

A day after the Petroleum Ministry announced a probe into the drowning of 37 crew members of Barge Pappas (P-205), the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi partners Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Shiv Sena and Congress said that heads must roll. Maharashtra Minister of Minority Affairs Nawab Malik hit out at the Petroleum Ministry and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and said that inquiry by a three-member panel is not enough. He sought the suspension of the concerned ONGC officers and said that an offence of culpable homicide should be lodged.

“ONGC neglected the repeated warnings issued by the state government and concerned agencies and endangered the lives of 700 employees. Already 37 are dead and 40 employees are still missing. ONGC is solely responsible for this mishap,” claimed Malik. He added that the corporation should stop passing the buck and take responsibility.

On the other hand, Congress demanded the resignation of Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and said that he must take moral responsibility. Action should also be taken against those who endangered the lives of workers. “This is clearly a man-made tragedy as warnings of imminent #TauktaeCyclone had been given in advance. @dpradhanbjp must resign taking moral responsibility,” said state Congress chief spokesman Sachin Sawant. In another tweet, he said, “Action must be taken against all those responsible for endangering the lives of workers. The Narendra Modi government’s reckless approach in handling COVID-19 has already led to lakhs of deaths and it is continuing to exhibit the same. When will the central government learn lessons from their grave mistakes?”

Shiv Sena Member of the Parliament (MP) and senior leader Arvind Sawant slammed the central government as well. “If there had been a similar tragedy in Maharashtra, the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders would have sought the resignation of people in the government,” he said. "ONGC is under the Petroleum Ministry headed by Dharmendra Pradhan. Why aren’t BJP leaders seeking his resignation? Who will be held accountable for the huge loss of lives in this tragedy? Who will compensate? Merely pointing fingers won't do?" Sawant said.

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