In the biggest industrial accident in recent years, at least six employees of Bhilai Steel Plant were killed and over 30 injured after a gas leak on Thursday night. The victims included two deputy general managers.
The incident occurred when repair work was being carried out in a section of the plant. Sources said a blast furnace reported leakage, and when officials and firefighters reached the spot, there was a blast in a nearby pipeline.
But Vijay Mehra, chief communication officer, Bhilai Steel Plant, said, “Six have died, 23 have been admitted to hospital… There was no blast, only gas leakage.” He said the victims included DGMs B K Singh and N K Katariya, master technician A Samuel and senior operator Y Sahu.
As per the statement issued by the plant authorities, 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.
‘We are deeply pained to learn that six employees have lost their lives’, a statement issued by SAIL said on Thursday 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.
Meanwhile, Steel Minister Narendra Singh Tomar expressed grief over the loss of lives in the accident and ordered a high-level
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.
(With PTI Inputs)