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Vizag gas leak: Villagers protest with dead bodies against LG plant

Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje
Last updated on: May 09, 2020 22:19 IST
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Simmering with anger over the loss of lives due to the styrene vapour leak, villagers placed two bodies of the victims in front of LG Polymers on Saturday demanding its closure as people barged into the factory as well while top police officials were around.

IMAGE: Mortal remains of the victims are seen outside LG Polymers industry as villagers stage a protest, demanding immediate closure of the plant after the chemical gas leakage incident, at RR Venkatapuram village in Visakhapatnam. Photograph: PTI Photo

Tumultous scenes unfloded when the bodies were brought from a mortuary to RR Venkatapuram village near here for cremation as irate people stopped the ambulances and laid the bodies on the road in front of the plant gate.

On Thursday, a styrene vapour leak from the plastics manufacturing plant killed 12 people and affected over 300, leading to their hospitalisation.

Hundreds of villagers, who were provided shelter in Visakhapatnam after the vapour leak, returned to the village this morning, raising slogans against the factory management and demanding its closure.

While protesters placed the bodies on ground as part of the agitation, some youths barged into the plant even as state director general of Police D G Sawang was inspecting the vapour leak spot and talking to the management on the measures taken to restore normalcy.

 

Though police personnel tried to prevent the villagers from going near the plant, villagers, with emotions running high, broke the security cordon and staged a sit-in protest near the factory gate.

Police whisked away some of the protesters, but scores of others went on protest mode subsequently.

As time rolled by, many of the villagers barged into the plant through a small entrance gate and one woman fell at the DGP's feet and pleaded with him for immediate closure of the unit.

A stumped Visakhapatnam police commissioner R K Meena directed his officers and men to disperse the villagers from the factory premises, following which they were taken away.

Hours later, the authorities said the situation was normal in the village.

IMAGE: Locals stage a protest against LG Polymers industry outside the plant. Photograph: PTI Photo

Director General of Police D Gautam Sawang and Special Chief Secretary (Industries) Karikal Valaven inspected the plant and spoke to the LG management and later told reporters that "everything is normal and there is no need to panic."

The temperature at the styrene storage tank, where the vapour leak occurred, has come down, as also the ambient air quality level.

"Definitely the air is also fresh and there is nothing to worry about. In the coming days, life will come back to normalcy," the DGP said.

"Just to be on the safe side, as per protocol, people are being asked to stay away for 48 hours. That period will end tomorrow.

Scientists and experts from different parts of the country, including New Delhi, are coming here. They will review the situation and give final clearance," he added.

"Experts from the Petroleum University, Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and others are coming here.

IMAGE: Police personnel try to control the villagers as they stage a protest against LG Polymers industry. Photograph: PTI Photo

After they inspect, we will take further required steps," the special chief secretary said.

Meanwhile, the LG management issued a statement saying, "We are happy to confirm that the status-quo at the plant is brought under control this morning."

It said a special task force has been set up to help victims and families to "resolve any issues" and provide every assistance to the bereaved families.

"All (the affected) families will be contacted shortly.

This team has the responsibility to provide every support forthedeceased, medical supplies and household goods, and emotional management for psychological stability to all injured and victims," the company statement said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Hemant Waje© Copyright 2020 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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