Oil minister Pradhan must go after barge tragedy: Shiv Sena

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Mumbai, May 20 (PTI) The Shiv Sena on Thursday sought a high-level probe into the barge tragedy off the Mumbai coast during cyclone Tauktae and demanded the resignation of Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and the ONGC chairman.

As many as 37 personnel on board a barge have died, while 38 are still missing after the vessel, working on an ONGC project, sank in the Arabian Sea. The accommodation barge 'P305' went adrift in the cyclone fury before sinking on Monday.

The Shiv Sena, which heads the government in Maharashtra, said the death of workers on the ONGC barge was a man-made tragedy and the guilty must be punished severely.

Party MP and spokesman Arvind Sawant sought a high- level probe into the incident and also demanded the resignation of Pradhan and the ONGC chairman.

'The cyclone Tauktae did not come suddenly. Adequate prior information was given to all the stake-holders. How can you keep a barge in the sea during this time?' Sawant asked.

The Sena leader said irresponsible and callous behaviour on part of some officials resulted in the death of innocent people.

'This man-made tragedy is the biggest in the oil industry so far,' Sawant said.

He demanded that the kin of those killed be adequately compensated and also provided jobs.

The Navy on Thursday morning launched a fresh aerial search and rescue mission for the missing personnel.

Navy ships were deployed on Monday after the Navy was informed that the barge had gone adrift off the Heera oil fields in the Bombay High area with 261 personnel on board.

The oil fields are around 70 km southwest of Mumbai. PTI MR RSY RSY