Seven die of suffocation in Andhra Pradesh's oil factory

The mishap took place in Ambati Subbanna oil company at G Ragampeta in the Kakinada district.

Published: 09th February 2023 11:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2023 08:32 AM   |  A+A-

Candles, Death, RIP

(Representational image)

Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Seven workers were allegedly suffocated to death while they were cleaning a tank at a private oil company in G Ragampeta of Peddapuram mandal in Kakinada district on Thursday morning.

Taking cognizance of the tragedy, the district administration ordered closure of the unit. The government, meanwhile, announced Rs 50 lakh ex-gratia to the families of the deceased.

The mishap took place on the premises of Ambati Subbanna Company, which manufactures sesame, groundnut and rice bran oils. The company operates a sesame crushing unit at Samalkot in Kakinada district with 5,250 MT capacity. The unit at G Ragampeta has huge storage tanks.

According to eye-witnesses and police, eight workers took up cleaning of the 30-feet deep tank at around 7 am. The tanks have steps through which the workers enter the bottom of the tank.

Officials suspected that the first worker to enter the tank slipped and fell, following which the other six entered one after the another to rescue their colleagues. There was another version that one of them fell unconscious as he inhaled toxic gases after reaching bottom of the tank. In order to rescue him, others climbed down the tank leading to their deaths.

Police said that the worker, who did not enter the tank, informed the management that workers were hitting the walls of the oil tank while pleading for help.

Oil tanker tragedy: Govt announces Rs 50L compensation to kin of deceased

According to cops, the other workers rushed to cut the bottom of the tank but by then all the seven were dead. Later, the bodies were removed using iron hooks and rods. The deceased were identified as Vetchangi Krishna Rao (35), Vetchangi Narasimha Rao (38), Vatchangi Sagar (22) Kurtada Bonjanna (34), Korra Rama Rao (45) (all from Paderu of Alluri Seetharama Raju district) and Kattamuri Jagadesh (45), and Yellamilli Durga Prasad (27) from Pulimeru village in Peddapuram.

The five workers from Paderu had joined the company just 10 days ago and were reportedly not aware of the tank and its nature. Sources claim that tribal people are  available to work at low wages, therefore several contractors bring them to work in difficult jobs. All the workers entered the tank without basic safety measures.  

Victims’ families protest  
Meanwhile, the family members of the victims rushed to the spot and staged a protest demanding action against the management, shutting down of the unit and Rs 1 crore as compensation. District collector Kritika Shukla and Superintendent of Police rushed to the spot and ordered an inquiry into the incident. The collector ordered to seize the factory and formed a committee to probe the reasons for the mishap. HM Taneti Vanitha announced compensation of Rs 50 lakh--Rs 25 lakh each from the government and the management side -- to the families of the deceased.


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