The death toll in the chemical factory explosion in Dahej, in Gujarat’s Bharuch district, rose to 10, with two more labourers succumbing to their injuries on Thursday.
The Gujarat government’s Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health (DISH), Gandhinagar, issued a closure notice to Yashashvi Rasayan Private Ltd where the incident took place and also ordered an audit of all the factories in Dahej.
In an official release, additional chief secretary of labour and employment department, Vipul Mittra, said the closure notice was issued under section 4(2), of the Factories Act. “We have started an investigation into the incident. The unit will not be allowed to resume operations, until adequate safety measures are in place,” the release quoted Mittra.
The release further added that the company authorities have started the process for payment of ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.
The explosion in the storage tank of the chemical factory, owned by the Patel Group, led to a fire that hindered movement of rescue teams. Six bodies were recovered from the site of the incident, while two died in the hospital on Wednesday. Officials said that 77 injured workers were admitted to various hospitals for treatment. Of them, 33 have been discharged.
Bharuch District collector MD Modia said, “Two more labourers are critical. Director of Industrial Safety and Health, PM Shah, visited the factory premises. If any negligence is found on the part of the company owners, we will take strict action.”
The deceased labourers have been identified as Rashmikant Chauhan (35) from Ahmedabad, Naresh Prajapati (27) from Bharuch, Pramod Yadav (26) from Uttar Pradesh, Arun Kori (19) from Madhya Pradesh, Jayant Mahato (28) from West Bengal, and Surajlal Singh Rajput (35), Munna Singh Shivprasad Singh (38), Tripurari Rai (25) and Hari Darshankumar Chaudhary (20) from Bihar. One person aged around 30 years is yet to be identified.
Bharuch District Superintendent of Police Rajendrasinh Chudasma said, “We are carrying out the investigation as an accidental death case. The Forensic Science Laboratory, factory inspector and industries safety officials are also holding parallel probes. Once the cause of explosion is detected, we will decide on further action. The factory owners have not yet contacted the police.”
Yashashvi Rasayan Private Ltd’s human resource department head, Nilesh Parekh, said, “The company will pay compensation to the family of all the deceased. The labourers were working under contract. When the incident took place, there were nearly 150 people inside the factory. Altogether 450 employees work in the factory. All are covered under workmen compensation and group personnel accident policy.”
Factory inspector ND Vaghela said, “The exact cause of the blast will be known once the investigation is over. We have come to know that the blast took place in one of the chemical tanks and due to its impact, other tanks got damaged. We cannot enter the storage area right now. We will have to give it another two to three days for the toxicity to come down. We are trying to contact the company authorities to find out about the chemicals stored in the tanks.”
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