Six persons, including two deputy general managers, were killed and over 30 people fell ill when poisonous gas leaked in Steel Authority of India's Bhilai Plant in Durg district of Chhattisgarh on Thursday.
Gas leakage from blast furnace-GCP occurred at around 6.30 pm due to breakdown in a water pump, affecting people working nearby in the plant premises, a statement issued by the plant said.
"We are deeply pained to learn that six employees have lost their lives,” a statement issued by SAIL said late on Tuesday night.
Inspector General of Police (Durg Range) Pradeep Gupta said five persons, including two DGMs, were killed and 30 others injured in the incident.
The injured included CISF personnel, workers and officials of the public sector plant, he said.
All the affected persons have been taken to Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Bhilai and the seriously ill have been admitted to ICU, Gupta said.
"As per preliminary information, the main header of Pump House No 2 which supplies water to the Gas Cleaning Plants of blast furnaces suddenly ruptured at around 18:10 hrs. This resulted in sudden loss in water pressure to the GCPs and the blast furnace gas from the scrubbers entered the water pipeline affecting the people attending the breakdown in the pump house and in the nearby area," the SAIL statement said.
"Plant management is providing all possible care and support and efforts are on for an early liquidation from the breakdown," the statement by the plant said.
A high-level inquiry would be conducted to ascertain the cause of the breakdown and the management will extend all the support to the gas-affected persons, the statement added.
Chief Minister Raman Singh expressed grief over the incident and said best medical care will be provided to those affected in the incident.
Earlier, due to fatal accidents at the plant one person each died in 2011 and 2012. Five persons died in 2013.
Till February this year, there were no fatal accidents.
The plant also witnessed 8 minor accidents in 2011, six in 2012 and 12 in 2013. There was one accident in 2014.
Eleven-time winner of Prime Minister's Trophy for best integrated steel plant in the country, Bhilai Steel Plant produces rails and heavy steel plates.
The plant has 3.9 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) production capacity now. SAIL is investing around Rs 18,000 crore to raise it to 7 mtpa.
Image: Bhilai steel plant