Plant mishap, a regular affair in Bhushan Steel Limited - The New Indian Express

Plant mishap, a regular affair in Bhushan Steel Limited

Published: 15th November 2013 01:29 PM

Last Updated: 15th November 2013 01:33 PM

The death of a person in an explosion in a plant of Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL) apparently caused by negligence in security measures on Wednesday is not a solitary case. Both BSL and its subsidiary Bhushan Energy Limited (BEL) have been constantly defying Government orders on safety norms.

In the last eight years, the State Directorate of Factories and Boilers has registered 69 cases against BSL management in the local SDJM court for violation of safety norms under Orissa Factories Rules, 1950, and the Factories Act, 1948. Other cases that were filed against the company were related to non-compliance of the directions issued by Government authorities following spot visits, violation of environment norms, unauthorised constructions and fatal accidents leading to death of workers.

But no case has been executed so far, said sources in the office of Assistant Director of Factories and Boilers, Dhenkanal.

None of these cases had any impact on the company’s management. Though the company did not have the Consent To Operate (CTO) from the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB), it started the blast furnace running.

On Wednesday, one person died and 17 others were critically injured when a fire broke out at blast furnace No 2 of Bhushan Steel Plant at Meramunduli. Government ordered closure of the blast furnace. The fire broke out when blast furnace-2 was in the commissioning stage.

According to official reports, 95 persons have died due to industrial mishaps in the plant ever since it was commissioned. There were 65 fatal accidents. As many as 29 accidents have occurred in BEL from the date of its commissioning.

BEL too has been violating pollution control norms. In the past three years, the OPCB had ordered closure of two power plants of BEL for violation of pollution norms. The Board had last issued closure notices to BEL on August 12 this year.

BEL’s two power plants (150 MW each) were then closed for over a month. Prior to this, a similar notice was served on the BEL power plants on October 12, 2011.

Assistant Director, (Factories and Boilers) Bibhu Prasad said his department had on Wednesday issued closure orders till a State safety team, headed by Deputy Director (safety) MK Pradhan, submits its report. On Thursday, another team of experts headed by Director of Factories and Boilers PC Das visited the plant and sealed the main charger conveyor in the blast furnace No 2.

Prasad said of 17 injured, one has been shifted to SCB Medical at Cuttack after his condition deteriorated. Identity of the workers, who were present inside the factory when the incident occurred, is yet to be confirmed.

SP Manoranjan Mohanty said investigation into the incident is underway and efforts are on to ascertain if more workers were trapped inside the blast furnace when the fire broke out.

Besides, registers of contract labour agencies who had employed labourers in the factory have been seized for verification.

Three Bhushan officials arrested

DHENKANAL: Three senior officials of Bhushan Steel Plant at Meramunduli in Dhenkanal district were arrested on Thursday on charges of negligence of duty that led to the mishap on Wednesday.  The officials are Chief Operating Officer of Bhushan Steel Limited A K Verma, shift in-charge at the blast furnace Navin Tyagi and project president Mahipal Singh. They were forwarded to Hindol SDJM court, which remanded them in judicial custody.  One person died and 30 others sustained injuries, many of them seriously, when a fire broke out at blast furnace No. 2, prompting the authorities to order closure of the factory. The fire, which was triggered by an explosion, engulfed the blast furnace area within minutes. Following the incident, the officials were detained for questioning by police on Wednesday night. The three officials  complained of illness following police questioning and had to be admitted to the district headquarters hospital.

 

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