After Vizag, Chattisgarh: 7 ill in Chhattisgarh paper mill gas leak
A gas leak at a paper mill in Chhattisgarh that was resuming work after the lockdown has ignited a fear of more industrial accidents.
Following the leakage of Styrene gas from the LG Polymers plant in Vishakapatnam, came the news of another gas leak, about 600 km up north in the Tetla village in Chhattisgarh. Here, seven workers at a paper mill became violently ill on Wednesday evening after inhaling poisonous gas. The Raigarh district administration was not informed of the incident until the following day, that too by the local hospital where the workers had been admitted. Three of them are critical and have been shifted to Raipur.
The owner of Shakti Paper Mill failed to inform the authorities about the incident and is now being interrogated. It appears that workers were cleaning a tank at the mill when the accident occurred. The mill had been shut for more than a month due to the lockdown declared in light the COVID-19 pandemic and cleaning was underway before start of operations. A team of forensic experts have been dispatched to the spot to investigate the cause of the accident.
In Vishakapatnam as well, the leak is reported to have occurred due to improper maintenance during the weeks-long lockdown period. According to a news report, the tank was meant to have been cooled all the time but a temperature difference had occurred in it which let to vapour build-up. The plant was preparing to come back online with the partial lifting of restrictions in Andhra Pradesh but now there is a growing clamour to close down the plant entirely. Trade unions and activists have begun asking for better monitoring on industrial units, particularly the hazardous ones, that are coming back to life after the weeks of being idle. The consensus is that in order to prevent such accidents in the future a survey should be conducted to ensure all maintenance protocols had been followed and take utmost care while bringing them online.