RAIPUR: Nine people were killed and 14 sustained serious injuries at the Bhilai Steel Plant, a flagship unit of state-owned Steel Authority of India, following a major explosion on Tuesday morning. The blast took place around 10.30 am in a gas pipeline connected to the coke oven section of the plant, situated 30 km east of Raipur. The reason behind the explosion was not immediately known. SAIL has ordered an inquiry into the incident.
According to sources, around 30 employees were working at the spot when the incident took place. Half-a-dozen employees miraculously escaped unhurt when the fire broke out. All the 14 injured were rushed to Bhilai Sector-9 hospital, where they are undergoing treatment. According to hospital sources, four of the injured are in critical condition. Company sources said some of the bodies have been charred beyond recognition. “We are not in a position to reveal the names of those identified,” Bhilai plant’s spokesperson and DGM Vijay Mairal told The New Indian Express.
On whether the fire broke out due to leakage of gas, the official said an investigation was on whether there were any lapses. Employees protested as the management seemed reluctant to declare the identities of those killed in the accident. Though some bodies could be recognised, their names were not announced immediately.
TNIE has learnt from reliable sources that no safety audit was undertaken in the plant. “It’s sad not much attention is being given to maintenance and preventive care as the focus is on newer projects”, said a former official.“Had the requisite routine maintenance works been carried out, the tragic incident could have been averted,” said former Chhattisgarh chief minister Ajit Jogi.
SAIL has constituted a four-member committee to probe the incident. The panel has been asked to submit the report within seven days