Bhilai steel plant blast: The shocking blast in the Bhilai Steel Plant – the epitome of industrialization in India in the post-Independence era, has killed 12 persons and injured 11. The incident evoked stringent-yet-swift sction from the central government. The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) was removed and the government also suspended two senior officials. One committee has already started its probe and the Centre will form a panel to ascertain the reason and detect the responsible persons behind the incident. The government has also announced a compensation of Rs 30 lakh for the kin of the deceased.
What happened on Tuesday night?
The incident took place at the plant of the state-owned Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in Durg district of Chhattisgarh. Nine people were killed instantly and 14 others were injured. Two of the injured succumbed Tuesday late night while one more died Wednesday afternoon, taking the death toll to 12, Durg Superintendent of Police Sanjeev Shukla was quoted as saying by PTI. Now, 11 injured are undergoing treatment at the hospital, he added. The explosion took place in the gas pipeline connected to the coke oven section of the plant during a maintenance job, the SAIL had said.
Action by Modi government
Taking tough cognisance of the incident, Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh announced the action against the officials. CEO M Ravi was removed with immediate affect while General Manager (safety department) T Pandya Raja and Deputy General Manager (energy department) Naveen Kumar were suspended. The Union Minister also visited the injured employees of the plant at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Hospital in Bhilai town
The Union minister said two committees will conduct probe into the incident. One internal committee of the Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) constituted to probe the incident on Tuesday has been asked to submit its report within seven days, he said. Another committee will be formed by the Steel Ministry which will have experts from all over the country to ascertain how the incident occurred and who was responsible for it, he said.
The minister said the family of the deceased employees will get an ex-gratia of Rs 30 lakh each while the seriously injured employees will get Rs 15 lakh each. A special permission was taken from the Election Commission for announcing the relief as the Model Code of Conduct is in place in the poll-bound Chhattisgarh, he said. Besides, the employees who have sustained minor injuries will get Rs 2 lakh each, he added. The families of the deceased will get a cumulative amount under various heads from Rs 33 lakh to Rs 95 lakh, he said.
The families of the deceased can avail salary up to the retirement of the respective employee or a member can get compensatory appointment, the minister said. The officials have been directed to provide the amount to the affected families as soon as possible, he added.
Police to register case
Inspector General of Police (Durg Range) G P Singh said a case under the Indian Penal Code Section 304 (A) (causing death by negligence) will be registered followed by an inquiry into the incident after receiving the postmortem report of the deceased.
Bhilai Steel Plant is the first Indian plant which has the capacity to produce steel rails. It was set up with help from the Soviet Union in 1955. It was re-opened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 14, 2018.