A high-powered committee probing the leak of styrene vapour at LG Polymers factory at Visakhapatnam has recommended filing of cases against all directors and managers of the company, shutting it down or shifting it out, or converting it into a non-polluting unit.
At least 12 persons died and more than 300 affected by the leak on May 7 early morning.
“The company cannot be allowed to function in its existing form at RR Venkatapuram. It should be shifted out or it should turn into a non-polluting unit,’’ stated the 4,000-page report submitted to Chief Minister YS Jagan Reddy on Monday. He directed authorities of various departments to initiate legal action against those responsible under relevant laws.
“We have pointed out and fixed the negligence of each and every person responsible for the styrene leak. It includes the Korean directors and managers. We have also recommended that either the company turn into a white and green unit or it be shifted out. The company, as it exists now, cannot be allowed to function,’’ Chairman of the committee Neerabh Kumar Prasad, Special Chief Secretary (Environment, Forests, Science and Technology) told The Indian Express.
Indicting the top management for not taking precautions during the lockdown, the committee pointed out that the LG Polymers factory had no stock of inhibitors and negligible stocks of terminators which could have been used to minimise the impact of the accident if not neutralise it. It also said all top officials of LG Polymers be booked for negligence and mismanaging the situation.
The committee noted that the accident occurred due to uncontrolled styrene vapour release from the M6 tank and qualified it as a major accident as per the definition under Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 rules.
The root causes, according to the report, are poor design of the tank; inadequate refrigeration and faulty cooling system; absence of circulation and mixing systems; inadequate measures and parameters; poor safety protocol; poor safety awareness; inadequate risk assessment response; poor process safety management system; slackness of management; insufficient knowledge of the chemical properties of styrene, especially during storage conditions; total breakdown of the emergency response of the procedures; and safety protocol not being followed by the authorities during the lockdown period.
The committee comprising Neerabh Kumar Prasad, Special Chief Secretary (Environment, Forests, Science and Technology); Karikal Valaven, Special Chief Secretary (Industry and Commerce); V Vinay Chand, Collector, Visakhapatnam; R K Meena, Police Commissioner, Visakhapatnam; Dr Anjan Ray, Director, CSIR, Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun; Vivek Yadav, Member Secretary, AP Pollution Control Board; Dr R K Elangovan, Director General, DGFASLI; and Bharat Kumar Sharma, Regional Director, CPCB, Pune, had also invited suggestions and questions from citizens. Over 1,200 queries, 180 phone calls and 250 emails were received by the committee.
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