There is more trouble for the controversy-hit Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL) as the Odisha Pollution Control Board (OPCB) on Wednesday ordered shutdown of its second blast furnace and a power plant on its steel complex at Meramundali in Dhenkanal.
The company has been asked to execute the order immediately. While BSL had operated the second blast furnace without the consent to operate licence, the Board later found out that the company had also constructed a mini power plant on the steel plant premises without clearance whatsoever.
Member Secretary of the OPCB L K Tiwari said the company had no permission for running a power plant on its premises which is why a closure order has been issued. “We have asked the District Collector to execute the order and ensure shutdown with immediate effect,” he told this paper. Meanwhile, the toll in the BSL mishap has risen to two with the death of an injured worker, who was admitted to a private hospital at Cuttack. Saroj Dehury, the victim, had suffered over 70 per cent burns.
The list of problems for the company, however, does not end as the inquiry report of the expert committee, headed by the Director of Factories and Boilers (DFB), has found large scale omission and commission by BSL, sources said. Apart from non-adoption of safety measures, the company had glossed over the statutory clearances required from the DFB as well as the Pollution Control Board, said the report, which was submitted to the Government on Tuesday.
“Violations of statutory norms apart, what the company has done amounts to criminal negligence and we have asked the district administration to book more officials,” the sources added.
Meanwhile, after a one-on-one verification of the injured, sources said the district administration and the Labour and Employees State Insurance Department have found that the total number of injured now stands at 30, not 17. Besides, as per the latest information, the total number of workers and employees present on the complex was found to be about 870 and all of them were drawn from L&T. The administration has asked eight other contractors to send their representatives and present the facts on workers engaged in the plant.
The Dhenkanal police is also carrying out a separate assessment of the number of the workers present at the mishap site.