"List it for hearing on January 23," a bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain said after hearing brief arguments on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) plea filed on behalf of the Tikri Kalan village residents.
The villagers' counsel Indira Unninayar pleaded with the court that the matter needed an "urgent and expeditious" hearing as lives of citizens was in danger and to buttress her claim cited the recent fire outbreak at the Hazira plant of Indian Oil Corporation in Gujarat on January five which had caused loss of lives and properties.
The oil depot near the village is being constructed by PSU Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL).
The court had earlier issued notices to various parties including HPCL and the National Disaster Management Authority.
"The recent Gujarat incident has not only caused huge financial loss and disruption of oil supply but also led to the loss of three precious human lives and widespread panic in the nearby areas," said the PIL, adding that the construction of the depot here be stopped as it would expose the villagers to various risks from fire, explosion and accident.
The villagers alleged the petroleum company, while planning the depot, ignored safety norms and did not maintain necessary distance from the populated area.
"The petitioners' right to live in a safe environment is being gravely threatened and seriously jeopardised by the installation of petroleum storage tanks by Hindustan Petroleum at a dangerously close distance of only 1,440-odd feet (approximately 440 metres) from where they live, and the boundary walls are approximately 180 feet (about 55 metres) from where they live in their village Tikri Kalan," the PIL said.