KARACHI: Oil spilled onto the streets of Memon Goth when a crude oil pipeline burst on Saturday night.
Residents sleeping on the floor inside their houses awoke when they felt wet crude oil around them. The police was informed about the explosion and they started patrolling the streets to make announcements on loudspeakers, telling people not to light matches, stoves or cigarettes.
The pipeline was repaired 10 hours later but by then the oil had spread far into the area and had entered many houses.
Memon Goth ASI Ghulam Rasool said that some men made a hole in the pipeline, using a drill machine, to steal oil but the hole expanded and the pipeline exploded. “Stealing oil is a common practice in this area but this time some inexperienced thieves gave it a try,” he said.
Police in the Jackson area, Gadap Town and Keamari Town allow people to steal oil from the pipelines because it is a source of income for them.
According to sources, around 10 oil tankers of 24,000 litres each were stolen in a month from these areas. Oil theft is at its peak when ships anchor at the port and supply oil to various companies because the pressure of oil increases at that time.
The stolen oil is sold at 10 rupees lower than the market price set by the Oil and Regulatory Authority. If the market price is Rs78, the stolen oil is sold at Rs68 and out of this Rs34 is given to the police as bribe.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2011.