Vizag gas leak: At least 9 die, over 300 hospitalised

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Published: May 8, 2020 12:01:16 AM

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has constituted a high-level committee to probe into the gas leak and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore to each of the families of the nine who lost their lives.

Depending on the inquiry report, efforts would be made to provide employment to the affected families in the company, the chief minister said. (PTI Image)Depending on the inquiry report, efforts would be made to provide employment to the affected families in the company, the chief minister said.
(PTI Image)

At least nine people, including two children, died and about 300 were hospitalised, following a gas leakage from LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, in the wee hours of Thursday, bringing back grim memories of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. People from four villages close to the factory were evacuated in hours.

Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has constituted a high-level committee to probe into the gas leak and announced an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore to each of the families of the nine who lost their lives, besides a compensation package to the affected people. Reddy added that all those undergoing treatment with the help of ventilators will be given Rs 10 lakh compensation. All hospitalised would be given Rs 1 lakh each and those who leave hospital after primary treatment will get a compensation of Rs 25,000. Livestock will also be compensated and for those living in the most-affected areas would be given Rs 10,000 each, the chief minister said. Job for one family member of the deceased will also be looked into.

The committee would comprise special chief secretary of environment and forests, industries secretary, Pollution Control Board secretary, district collect, City Commissioner of Police and it will conduct an intensive study and submit its report suggesting the precautionary measures as well.

Depending on the inquiry report, efforts would be made to provide employment to the affected families in the company, the chief minister said.

As the concentration of the gas has to wither away, it is not safe for the evacuees to return for two more days and the defusing material is being transported from Gujarat. Water has been sprayed continuously to dilute the effect of the chemical. A special NDRF expert team will also be coming from Pune to investigate the matter. The concentration of the chemical will wither in a couple of days. Till then the evacuees will not be allowed back into the villages.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the chief secretary, calling for a detailed report in the matter, including status of the rescue operation, medical treatment provided to the people who have fallen sick, and relief and rehabilitation provided by the state authorities to the affected families. A notice has also been issued to the Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, to inform within four weeks about registration of FIRs in the matter and status of the investigation being conducted.

The Commission also considered it appropriate to bring the matter to the notice of the Union ministry of corporate affairs and has asked through its secretary to examine whether the norms laid down under relevant provisions of the law are being implemented at the particular industrial unit and to submit a report to the Commission. Responses from all the these authorities are expected within four weeks.

“The gas leak situation is now under control and we are exploring all ways to provide speedy treatment for those who suffer from inhaling the leaked gas. We are investing the extent of damage and exact cause of the leak and deaths,’’ the company said in a statement. LG Polymers India is part of the plastic resin and synthetic fibre manufacturing industry in the state.

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