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NEW DELHI : A day after four people lost their lives in a helicopter accident near a rig off the Mumbai coast, ONGC Officers Association has written to the CMD seeking discontinuation of Pawan Hans helicopters usage in the company’s operations. 

In its letter sent on Wednesday to the ONGC CMD, Alka Mittal, the employees‘ union has also sought an insurance cover of 5 crore for the employees working offshore.

Four people lost their lives after an ONGC helicopter carrying nine people including two piolots made an emergency landing around 11.45 am on Tuesday in Arabian Sea, one nautical mile away from ONGC offshore rig Sagar Kiran. Three of the deceased were ONGC employees, while the fourth was an employee of a business partner.

“As per one survivor his re-breather did not function and according to other survivor his life jacket did not function. It is high ime the ONGC Management takes strong view and stop using Pawan Hans Helicopter for ONGC Operations," the association said.

The associatio has also requested the introduction of compulsory safety and helicopter underwater escape training (HUET) to all employees including contractor employees from institutions recognized by the Offshore Petroleum Industry Training Organisation (OPITO).

Queries sent to ONGC remained unanswered till press time.

This is not the first time employees of the Maharatna company have sought discontinuation of Pawan Hans helicopters from its operations. In 2018, after seven people onboard a Pawan Hans helicopter died after the chopper crashed, the Petroleum Employees Union (PEU) in a letter to the company management sought the discontinuation of the helicopters referring to them as “flying coffins".

In a separate development on Wednesday, the state-run oil major in a statement said that an ex-gratia payment of 30 lakh would be given to the each of the families of the four employees who lost their lives in the accident. Both ONGC and the union ministry of petroleum and natural gas would contributed 15 lakh each for each of the families.

“Apart from the ex-gratia, one senior ONGC executive each has been assigned to help the families of deceased employees. The executives will be responsible

for facilitating their logistics, boarding, lodging, counselling, interaction with police authorities, transportation of mortal remains, accompanying the families

to their respective home station and any local support,“ the statement said

In order to extend all possible help to the survivors, a team of ONGC officers has also been associated with the survivors. The associated officers would facilitate in their logistics, boarding and accompany them to their home towns.

On Tuesday, the company said that it has instituted an enquiry into the incident.

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