VISAKHAPATNAM: Former Union energy secretary EAS Sarma on Friday said the AP Pollution Control Board, which has the statutory responsibility to control industrial pollution, and the department dealing with industrial safety seem to have failed in discharging their functions effectively.
It seems all industrial units in the State have been licensed to spew toxic pollutants to damage the health of people in their vicinity, he opined. In a letter to Chief Secretary Sameer Sharma, he said that there seems to be no industrial unit that works without polluting its surroundings in Vizag.
More than 40 industrial accidents have taken place over the years, killing about 70-80 people and permanently causing ill-health to many people. As many as 369 women were hospitalised after being exposed to unknown toxic gas on June 3. Even three weeks after the incident, the source and the toxic gas are yet to be identified, he said.
Sarma demanded that the probe into the incident be speeded up to identify the source of the gas leak. He mentioned that Scientists for People, a group of eminent scientists, addressed a letter to the APPCB Chairman highlighting the lack of adequate professional expertise within the board that has time and again cost the State in terms of loss of innocent lives and the lasting damage to the health of people whenever industrial mishaps occur.
Senior officials of the APPCB and the industrial safety wing, who were also responsible for the accident through their inaction, should be suspended pending investigation, he said.
An independent body headed by a retired member of the higher judiciary should be entrusted with the responsibility of determining the compensation thus payable and the State should ensure that the amount is paid to the affected within three months, Sarma said.
Gas leak probe report submitted to Andhra Pradesh government
Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) Executive Engineer Pramod Kumar Reddy told TNIE that the committee, which probed the gas leak at Brandix SEZ, submitted its report to the District Collector, who in turn sent it to the State government for further action.