ONGC's offshore 'chingaris' soldier on for record 45 days

Priyanka Patil, Neha Suryavanshi and Kuljeet Kaur Randhawa were buzzing with excitement when their choppers took off from ONGC's Juhu helibase in the third week of March for the BPA offshore platform in Bassein and Satellite project, India's...

ONGC's offshore 'chingaris' soldier on for record 45 days
Priyanka Patil, Neha Suryavanshi and Kuljeet Kaur Randhawa were buzzing with excitement when their choppers took off from ONGC's Juhu helibase in the third week of March for the BPA offshore platform in Bassein and Satellite project, India's largest gas field 80 kms off the Mumbai coast.It was the first deployment on an offshore platform for the young engineers and they were looking forward to spending 14 days, the standard duration of deployment, on Asia’s largest offshore platform. But little did they realise then that the mesh of steel jutting from the Arabian Sea was going to be their home for the next 45 days and counting.There are seven other women engineers who are currently offshore on Mumbai High and a seismic vessel far longer than stipulated. All these women are among hundreds of ONGC engineers, technicians and geologists who opted to continue at their remote or isolated project sites on land or at sea once the countrywide anti-coronavirus lockdown was announced.“It was our choice (to continue). We are proud to keep the show going. As ONGCians, this is our contribution to the country. Hum navyug ki nari hain, phool nahi chingari hain (We are newage women. Not wallflowers but sparks). We are working with the same energy today as we did on the first day,” Priyanka told TOI in a telecon with the platform.“Our first concern was to maintain production. It is a brownfield project. If production stalls, it will be difficult to restore. I said that as the nation’s energy soldiers we cannot leave our posts. I am happy to say we were all on the same page,” GM production and platform boss K. M Rao said.What prompted them and their colleagues elsewhere to continue beyond their tenure was to avoid the smallest chance of coronavirus piggybacking on the relief crew and upending operations. Today it is their grit and commitment, combined with the care shown by the management led by chairman Shashi Shanker, that keeps them going.