VIJAYAWADA: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Porus Laboratories Private Limited to pay a penalty of Rs 18.18 lakh as compensation for emission of hazardous gases into the atmosphere and Rs 11.80 lakh for non-compliances— totalling to RS 29 lakh. It may be noted that the instruction comes after ten people were killed in a gas leak-triggered explosion and blaze at a unit of Porus Labs in Akkireddygudem, Eluru district, on April 13 this year.
A principal bench of the Tribunal took up the case after considering media reports and constituted a joint committee to probe the incident. Based on the panel’s report, the NGT directed the pharmaceutical intermediates and speciality chemicals manufacturing unit to pay environmental compensation and additional aid to some of the injured workers.The panel comprised West Godavari District Magistrate, officials of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and APPCB.
After inspecting the unit, the panel explained, “The explosion took place inside the reactor (SSR D01). The hot reaction mass spilled on floor, triggering a fire after oxidization. This resulted in the reactor falling on the ground floor due to pressure. There were 18 workers in Production Block-D when the incident happened. Of the total, five workers were on first floor and 13 on the ground floor. Five workers died on the spot, while five others succumbed to their injuries later.” On the probable cause of the accident, the panel observed that the reactor may not have been designed to withstand any deviations in the load and that the shell of the reactor was weakened.
NGT also ordered unit to pay compensation of Rs 15 lakh to family of deceased
“It is essential to carry out third party assessments to verify the safety of the reactors once in two years. While the unit did carry out internal check on the reactors, safety of the reactor was not ascertained through any certified agency. Further, it was reported that the reactor was around six years old. Under such circumstances, the committee opines that it is essential to assess safety of the reactor to withstand deviations in the load,” the report said.
During inspection, the panel did not find any accumulated waste materials in the production block and said all waste material was disposed off to Transportation, Storage, Disposal Facility (TSDF) at Visakhapatnam as per APPCB directions.
“The environmental price for the material wasted is not available. To account for the damages due to the material wasted, the committee has assumed that the market price of the material is equal to the opportunistic cost,” it said. The NGT has also ordered the unit to pay enhanced compensation of `15 lakh to the family of one deceased worker, `10 lakh each for two injured workers and `5 lakh each for three workers.