A magisterial probe has been ordered into the incident of leakage of poisonous gas at Steel Authority of India Limited’s Bhilai plant in which six people, including two deputy general managers, were killed and about 30 others injured.
"A magisterial inquiry, headed by the Durg additional district magistrate, has been ordered into Thursday’s incident," Durg Collector R Sangeetha said.
Soon after news of the incident at the SAIL plant in Chhattisgarh's Durg district, police was rushed to the spot, she said. Initially, as many as 34 people were taken to Jawaharlal NehruHospital and Research Centre in Sector-9, Bhilai, after they fell ill upon inhaling the poisonous gas, she said.
Five of them, including two DGM-rank officials, died during treatment while the body of a worker, Vikas Verma, was found after de-watering the pump house where the mishap occurred, she said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has discussed the matter with state Chief Minister Raman Singh over the telephone today. He is learnt to have expressed his condolences for the families of the deceased and stressed on the need for proper treatment of and assistance to those who have been taken ill following the accident, said the state public relation department.
Meanwhile, SAIL Chairman CS Verma reached the plant this morning to review the situation. A high-level inquiry will be conducted into the incident and every assistance and support would be extended to the affected persons, Verma said.
Following a breakdown in a water pump, the gas leakage from the blast furnace-GCP occurred at around 6.10 pm on Thursday, affecting people working nearby on the premises, a statement issued by the plant said.
All the affected persons were rushed immediately to the Sector 9 hospital where 11 of them had to be admitted in the intensive care unit. "Despite all efforts by doctors, the lives of five of the employees could not be saved. Besides the five employees, another person, a contract labourer, also died in the incident," the statement said.
The deceased have been identified as Deputy General Manager BK Singh, 56, Deputy General Manager NK Kataria 56, master technician A Samuel, 48, senior operator Yarad Ram Sahu, 53, assistant fire station officer Ramesh Kumar Sharma, 58, and contract labourer Vikas Verma, according to the statement by the steel plant.
A senior plant official told PTI that of the 24 persons admitted in the normal wards, 21 have been discharged while the condition of five of the six persons admitted in ICU is stable. The incident has affected production at the plant and maintenance work is on to enable resumption of normal operations, the official said.