December 23, 2021 5:19:25 am
SHANKARI MAJHI (67) has been anxiously waiting at her residence with grandchildren Anwesha (19) and Ankush (16) for nearly 24 hours while her son Debabrata Majhi (45), is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Kolkata.
She is unsure of how severe the injuries her son suffered in the fire at a Haldia refinery on Tuesday are. She said, “I have no idea about his present condition. My daughter-in-law Saswati (38) is at the hospital. She said doctors told her that Debabrata is stable and admitted in the critical burn unit of the hospital.”
According to the Indian Oil Corporation, three persons — Pargat Singh, Sarabjit Singh and Shamshad Ali — were killed in the fire and at least 38 persons were injured and admitted to hospitals.
On Wednesday, IOC said in a statement, “The family members of the three contract workers who unfortunately lost their lives during yesterday’s incident have been contacted for extending all possible support in this hour of grief. Among those with injuries, three contract workers have been discharged after preliminary treatment, 38 others have been admitted at multi-specialty hospitals at Kolkata for advanced medical care. Indian Oil is extending the best medical treatment to the 38 injured and no effort or cost will be spared to ensure their speedy recovery. Their family members are also being contacted for extending all necessary support.”
After meeting with IOC officials, State Irrigation Minister Saumen Mahapatra said, “IOC authorities assured us that they would give compensation to the kin of each of the deceased.”
He added, “Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has emphasised on proper treatment to the injured.”
Meanwhile, local union leader and councillors alleged that the IOC for the delaying the injured workers shifting to the hospital. Local councillor Azgar Ali said, “We came to know almost two hours after the accident. If we had known earlier, we would have been able to shift those affected to Kolkata at least one hour earlier. This is a failure on part of the IOC authorities.”
IOC authority claimed that there was no such delay. CGM (Technical) of IOC Debashish Dutta said, “We can not go inside the plant with mobile phones. So, there was few minutes delay for coming out from the plant and using phones but after that there were was no delay or hesitation in our part.”
On Wednesday, the workers’ union demanded the employment of the family members of the deceased workers in Haldia refinery. Protests were staged outside the main gate of the organisation on behalf of the grassroots workers’ organisation. When they tried to meet the Haldia authorities, the security guards allegedly stopped them. So the protest went on outside the gate. The workers demanded “appropriate punishment for those responsible for the fire.”
Mintu Samanta, a member of the Haldia Refinery workers’ union, said, “No incident took place after the shutdown. Within an hour of this, I saw a spark of fire in the MAPT unit of Naphtha. Let those responsible be punished accordingly.”
In a portion of a school building of sector 13 area in Haldia, more than 700 contract workers are staying. At least eight labourers staying on the third floor were injured in the fire. Brijesh Kumar, room-mate and brother of Binay Kumar, one of the injured, said, “We do not know how he is now. They shifted them to Kolkata.”
One of the contract labourers, Harmonjyot Singh of Punjab said, “We used to go different parts of India such as Vishakhapattanam, Chennai, Mumbai and other places. Here, mainly from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, workers came during shutdown to do the maintenance work of the unit. We will stay here for a month or more and then return. We got more than Rs 500 a day. I have been doing this work for eight years and went to several parts of the country but have never seen such incident.”
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