Bokajan: In the aftermath of the Tuesday fire that burnt a series of fuel tankers in a parking lot here, panic has gripped the residents of the Khatkhati area where a dozen such parking lots operate and pilfer fuel from tankers in a regular basis.
At least five tankers were burnt on Tuesday by a devastating fire which reportedly sparked off from an electric motor used to pump out fuel from the tankers parked here. As per the primary investigation, it appears to be a clear handiwork of some fuel theft racket involved in the round-the-clock mixing of a range of highly inflammable chemical solvents with petrol under the very nose of the government authorities and the district policing machinery.
The recent episode of tanker inferno is the fifth instance of fire engulfing fuel tanker in the past couple of years. However, the Khatkhati police have failed to make an arrest and this racket continues to operate without check, posing a severe threat to public health and safety.
These organized gangs are responsible for supplying contaminated fuel to various fuel refilling stations in Nagaland and Manipur. Earlier, these gangs had their base at Dimapur in Nagaland but after a recent crackdown by Nagaland Police, they have moved out of Nagaland and conveniently shifted their base to Khatkhati close to Dimapur.
“The kingpins of Nagaland fuel adulteration are part of this syndicate. They include PDS kerosene dealers and several fuel station owners of Nagaland. The same gang was involved in the earlier episodes of fire in Khatkhati but no action has been initiated against them to date. They will manage to give a slip to the police this time as well,” said a local person.