The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to send back to South Korea the remaining stock of styrene gas at the LG Polymers factory in Visakhapatnam, where a leak last Thursday killed 12 people and affected hundreds others.
Meanwhile, officials announced around 4 pm on Monday that the five villages which had been evacuated following the leak, were now safe for residents to return. National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) teams and health workers declared them open after thorough verification, they said. The government also paid the already-announced Rs 1 crore ex-gratia to the families of the deceased.
Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister B Satyanarayana said on Monday that the government is making arrangements to send 13,000 tonnes of styrene to LG Chemicals, which owns LG Polymers, and is headquartered in Seoul. He added that in the meantime, the gas tank at the factory may also be moved away from inhabitable areas for a few days.
“The CM suggested during a meeting that the state should be cleared of hazardous units and asked officials to make arrangements to send the remaining stock of styrene at LG Polymers to South Korea. About 8,500 tonnes of styrene which was at a storage facility at the Visakhapatnam port has already been pumped into a ship. Where the company takes it is their decision, but the styrene came from South Korea, so we have asked the management to take it back,’’ said Satyanarayana, who is one of the five ministers coordinating relief work following the gas leak. “The remaining styrene would also be taken away in the next few days. In between, if necessary, we will also shift the styrene tank away from habitation.”
He did not say if the factory’s functioning would be impacted by the move.
Industries Minister M Goutham Reddy said stringent action would be taken against LG Polymers after the government-appointed committee investigating the leak submits its report.
“The CM instructed the officials to shift the styrene tanks to the city outskirts and also conduct inspections in all such industries,’’ he said.
He added that a state-wide drive would be taken up to identify hazardous factories and units across the state.
Meanwhile, announcing that the villages were safe to return, an official said on Monday, “All public spaces including open drains and sewage canals have been cleaned and sanitised. We are also going to provide sanitation liquids to households for indoor cleaning. Currently, the emission levels have been nullified and people are returning homes,” an official said.
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