The cold storage in Shivrajpur, where an explosion claimed five lives, did not have a license and three people, including its owner, have been booked in the case, police said today. District administration has also ordered a departmental inquiry following the initial findings of the probe which revealed that the facility was working without any permit and was found storing potato packets beyond its capacity. The cold storage, where ammonia leakage from its gas chamber led to an explosion which caused a part of the building’s structure to fall, was being operated without any licence, Senior Superintendent of Police, Kanpur City, Akash Kulhari said.
A three-member team has been constituted to inspect such facilities in the area, even as rescue and relief operation at the mishap site was underway, District Magistrate, Kanpur, Kaushal Raj Sharma said. Five labourers had died and another eight suffered serious injuries in the incident yesterday.
The five deceased have been identified as Sanjay Jadhav (28) Swadesh Katiyar (28), Bhumeshwar Ram (32) Rambali Ram (30) and Sanjay (30), chief medical officer Dr Ramayan Prasad said. Except for Katiyar, who was a local, all others hailed from Bihar.
An inspection has been ordered at Katiyar cold storage and three other such facilities in nearby areas. The cold storage was found storing 1.65 lakh potato packets against its capacity to store 1.50 lakh, District Magistrate Sharma said.
The Horticulture Department has been asked to carry out probe into how the cold storage was working without a license and responsible officials be held accountable, he said. Strict action will be taken against anyone found guilty, he added.
The DM said recommendations would be made to senior authorities for granting financial compensation the families of the deceased labourers. Meanwhile, CMO Prasad said the injured labourers were being treated free of cost.
The rescue and operations are expected to be completed by late this evening, officials said, without ruling out the possibility of any other person being trapped in the debris.