Official’s suspension to delay Khanna factory blast report

Labour Minister Surjit Kumar Jiyani’s decision to suspend the deputy director (factories),Jatinder Singh Bhatti,will now delay the inquiry report on the blast at a Khanna factory.

Written by Amrita Chaudhry | Ludhiana | Published: September 18, 2012 6:05 am

Labour Minister Surjit Kumar Jiyani’s decision to suspend the deputy director (factories),Jatinder Singh Bhatti,will now delay the inquiry report on the blast at a Khanna factory.

According to the Ludhiana Deputy Commissioner Rahul Tewari,the magisterial inquiry report,on the blast at the Sanjeev Agro Private Limited factory,was to be submitted within seven days of the incident. The blast occurred on September 12 and so far,10 workers have died while around 13 have sustained burn injuries.

The minister,who visited the affected unit on Friday,had announced the suspension citing,“dereliction of duty on the part of Bhatti,who had not checked the factory even once.”

The Indian Express had on September 15 reported that the factory had not been checked by any official of this department since 2005.

The announcement,however,has put the breaks on the inquiry report. With Bhatti out,N K Beri,who has now taken over as the deputy director (factories),visited the accident site on Monday.

Purshotam Singh Sodhi,SDM Khanna,who is conducting the inquiry said: “Beri along with other officials visited the site on Monday. He,however,told me that he comes from an electrical engineering side and hence cannot comment on how the leakage occurred. Beri has now told me that he will come back on Tuesday with an expert from the chemical and mechanical side.”

“I was supposed to submit this report by Wednesday but now have written that I have lost two days because of the suspension and subsequent happenings. While I will try and submit the report on time,much depends on these people,” Sodhi added.

The power board and the department of boilers have meanwhile already submitted their reports to the state government. “Both the departments have claimed that their sections had nothing to do with accident. The boiler is intact and that there was no short circuiting. Only the Department of factories is the cause of delay,” Sodhi said.

When contacted,Jiyani said: “The DC can say seven days but as per rules we have thirty days to file a report and by the end of thirty days the work will be done.” On why there was an urgent need to suspend the official during the course of an inquiry and not ordering him to join it despite the suspension,the minister only said: “The report will be out in by thirty days.”

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