Negligence led to Visakhapatanam gas leak, says inquiry panel

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A High Power Committee (HPC) which investigated the gas leak at LG Polymers Private Limited at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on May 7 found that negligence on the part of the management led to the disaster that killed 12 people.

The probe revealed that the warning system in the factory did not function when the mishap occurred leading to the fatalities. Besides the 12 deaths, 100 others were affected by the leak of toxic styrene from the chemical plant. A genotoxic styrene of an estimated 800 tonnes was exposed to the people who were living in the neighbourhood.

LG Polymers is owned by South Korea based LG Chem Ltd. Following the incident, the state government appointed a High Power Committee (HPC) headed by Neerab Kumar Prasad. The committee on Monday submitted its 4,000 page report.

"There was slackness on part of the Company with regard to safety measures. There were no proper preventive mechanisms to avert such incidents and the warning siren facility was also not in order. Non adherence of safety protocols, lack of timely emergency response measures, and negligence were found and we have provided suggestions," the News Minute quoted the HPC chairman as saying.

The HPC investigation report said that it has mentioned at 36 places about how the alarm system did not function and the siren did not go off, stressing on the lapse of preventive mechanism. It further aid that the incident qualifies to be a 'major accident' under the definition of Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules (MSIHC), 1989 Act.

The committee claimed that it has met multiple stakeholders and held discussions as part of the probe besides receiving 1,250 questions by the public through emails, phone calls, messages.

Earlier, a committee appointed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) stated that the tragic incident was a result of gross safety lapses.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said that the report will serve as a guideline on how to avert such mishaps in future. He said that his government will make necessary amendments to the existing laws if it is found necessary to avert such tragedies.

Image Credit: Deccan Chronicle

 

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