Fumes coming out of cracks in a field near Nandan Pahar on the outskirts of Deoghar township has triggered panic.
According to sources, the gaseous emission, which was first spotted last evening, spread up to 2-3km by this morning. Local residents said that it smelled like cooking gas, but was not inflammable in nature. The district administration has decided to seek help from ONGC, Mumbai and New Delhi, to identify the nature of the fumes.
A group of boys, who had gone to play cricket in the field last evening, spotted the gas. They soon informed the elders, who rushed to the spot and found some cracks on the ground from where the gas was emanating.
Some local residents tried to dig holes in the affected area to locate its source, but stopped after more gas started coming out. "It smells like domestic gas but is not inflammable. I lighted a match stick and brought the flame near the cracks from where the gas was coming out, but it did not catch fire," said Jitendar Singh, a social activist at Deoghar.
Sub-divisional officer of Deoghar Ram Narayan Ram, who visited the spot this morning, said that the source and nature of the gas were yet to be ascertained.
"We have taken initiative to contact the ONGC offices in Mumbai and New Delhi. We will request them to send a team for proper investigation," he said.
Meanwhile, the district administration has barricaded the field to keep people away. Policemen have also been deployed at the spot. "It is just a precautionary measure. The suspense will be dispelled after the arrival of the ONGC team," said a police officer.
September 11, 2009 / Telegraph