VELLORE: Ten people, including nine workers from West Bengal, were on Saturday killed after the wall of a waste recycling tank of Ranipet SIDCO Finished Leather Effluent Treatment Company Private Limited in SIDCO (State Industries Development Corporation)-Phase I near Ranipet exploded. The sludge from the secured landfill facility (SLF) flooded the nearby R K Leather factory and the asbestos-covered workers’ accommodation in the wee hours. It is believed that excess waste dumping caused the blast.
The deceased were identified as — Abeer Khan (50), his sons Ali Askar (25) and Ali Akbar (23), N Shahjahan (27), S Kuthum (18), I Pyaar Khan (25), Sahoor Khan (25), Aesiam (23) and his brother Akram Khan (25) — all from West Bengal and watchman Sampath (45) of Kannamangalam, Vellore.
Worker Ameer Khan (21) of West Bengal and clerk K Ravi (50) of Velam in Vellore saved themselves by running upstairs after seeing the sludge rushing in.
The SLF was being used to stock liquid effluent of 86 tanneries and leather factories. Two tanks, each with 1,000 cubic metres capacity, were used for the purpose, though only one had permission to hold the effluent stock. The one that exploded did not have the requisite permission.
On information, Fire and Rescue Service personnel rushed to the spot. After much struggle, they recovered the bodies and sent them to the Government Vellore Medical College and Hospital for autopsy. Later, nine bodies were sent to Chennai from where they will be sent to their hometowns in West Bengal by train. In the evening, Collector R Nandagopal visited the spot. State Rural Industries and Labour Minister P Mohan and Minister for School Education K C Veeramani also visited the spot and took stock of the situation.