Five labourers were killed when a blast ripped through a tank in the bio-gas unit of an integrated sugar factory at Bela village of Nagpur district on Saturday. The factory is run by a group associated with Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari.
Nitin Kulkarni, public relations officer of Manas Agro Indicators Infrastructure Limited, earlier known as Purti Group, which was pioneered by Gadkari, told The Indian Express, “A blast occurred in a tank in unit 1 of the integrated sugar factory at Bela around 2.30 pm while welding work was going on as part of maintenance work. Five labourers, all from the neighbouring Wadgaon village, were killed in the mishap.”
Kulkarni added, “We had outsourced the job to a Nashik-based company called S P Engineering. But since it happened on our premises, we have assured compensation to the victims’ families.”
The welding work was taking place on a tank of the bio-digester unit, where molasses is processed to produce bio-gas. Asked if there was any gas inside the tank while welding work was going on, Kulkarni said, “The unit was shut for maintenance but it’s possible that traces of the gas may have been there.”
The incident triggered tension in the area, with people demanding action against those responsible and compensation for the victims’ families.
The names of the deceased are Sachin Waghmare, 27, Mangesh Naukarkar, 23, Wasudev Ladi, 34, Prafulla Moon, 25 and Leeladhar Shende (age not specified).
Superintendent of Police (Nagpur Rural) Rakesh Ola said, “We will register an offence in the matter after initial inquiry.”
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