Bhushan issue: Officers admit government lapses - The New Indian Express

Bhushan issue: Officers admit government lapses

Published: 22nd November 2013 12:45 PM

Last Updated: 22nd November 2013 12:45 PM

Labour Secretary CTM Suguna and Labour Commissioner Shalini Pandit on Thursday admitted that there were lapses on the part of the State Government which led to frequent occurrence of industrial accidents on the Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL) premises at Meramandali in Dhenkanal from 2006 to 2007.

Replying to queries of media persons at a press meet on lack of safety measures in the plant, Suguna and Pandit said there was laxity on the part of the State Government toward the accidents in the steel plant and there was no monitoring mechanism as per the norms of the Factories Act of 1948 and the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.

However, the officials said the Government has filed 69 criminal cases in the SDJM court of Dhenkanal against BSL from 2006-07.

Following their visit to the plant on Thursday noon, they informed that 974 workers were working at the blast furnace-2 of Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL) on November 13 when the blast took place.  The workers were engaged by 21 contractors and 14 outsourcing agencies. The agencies are Balaji Infratech and Construction Pvt limited, Sri Balaji, L&T, UAE, among others. Around 530 workers were working under L&T.

Balaji Infratech had not obtained licence to engage labourers in BSL and was clandestinely operating. The Secretary said she would inquire into the allegation and take appropriate action against Balaji Infratech.

The officials said on the fateful day, 113 regular engineers were on duty and 63 workers were on duty at coke oven that is located within 100 metres of the blast furnace.

Till now, the administration has received confirmed report of 718 out of 974 workers being alive and further verification is on. SP Manoranjan Mohanty said three persons, who were missing following the incident, have been traced.

Suguna said the department could not get immediate information about the exact number of labourers present inside the plant on the day as there was no centralised attendance system in the plant.  Meanwhile, Angul regional officer of OSPCB S Sahoo has filed two cases against BSL management in the court of SDJM on violation of Air and Water Act.

Pollution watchdog seals BSL units

The regional officials of Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) on Thursday sealed the 256-MW power plant, a cold rolling mill of BSL and an extension project of blast furnace at Meramundali after they found that those were functioning illegally.

A team of OSPCB officials, Dhenkanal Sub-Collector AK Patnaik, CESU Executive Engineer (Chainpal) Subrat Sahoo and Magistrate Pradeep Kumar Sahoo arrived at the plant on Thursday morning and sealed the three units of BSL. The power plant was set up without approval of the OSPCB.

The power plant has three boilers of which, one was operational and two others under construction, said S Sahoo, regional officer, OSPCB.

The Board officials first noticed the illegal operation of the plant during their visit on November 14, a day after the mishap took place.

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