AT LEAST six workers died following a gas leak at the Gerdau Steel plant at Jambulapadu village, in Tadipatri area of Anantapur district in Andhra Pradesh, on Thursday evening. Two other workers are reported to be critical.
The mishap occurred when an underground furnace chamber was being tested after a two-week-long maintenance and repair work. Officials said the workers inhaled the residue of carbon monoxide used for maintenance work.
DIG Prabhakar Rao said police have registered a case of negligence against the management.
“Two died on the spot, while the other four died at the government hospital in the area. The incident occurred at 5.30 pm in an underground chamber,’’ said Ramakrishna Reddy, Sub-Inspector, Tadipatri Rural police station, who was among the first to reach the spot.
The dead have been identified as B Ranganath, K Manoj, U Gangadhar, S A Basha, K M Siva and G Guruviah. Officials said three of the victims were electricians while the other three were fabrication workers.
Two other employees, who were working near the chamber, are reported to be in a critical condition and are being moved to a private hospital in Bengaluru.
Following the deaths, Left and YSR Congress Party workers staged demonstrations near the steel plant and demanded compensation for the families of the victims. “The TDP government should ensure that at least Rs 50 lakh is paid to the kin of the victims and a government job should be given to one family member,’’ said YSRCP leader Jitendra Reddy.
Deputy Chief Minister (Home) N Chinna Rajappa announced ex-gratia payment of Rs 5 lakh each to the victims’ families. “We will ensure that the families get full support from the government. Right now, the focus is on rescue and relief,’’ he said.