Fire accident at pharmaceutical plant in Puducherry, 14 people hurt

Moreover, then too, locals had protested claimed that the discharge of wastewater from the plant had contaminated both soil and sea water in the area.
Following the accident, locals staged a protest in front of the company, demanding a thorough probe and permanent closure of Solara Active Pharma Sciences. (Photo | Sriram R)
Following the accident, locals staged a protest in front of the company, demanding a thorough probe and permanent closure of Solara Active Pharma Sciences. (Photo | Sriram R)

PUDUCHERRY:  Fourteen workers sustained burn injuries in a fire accident at a pharmaceutical company, Solara Active Pharma Sciences, in Kalapet on Saturday night. The Office of Factories and Boilers issued a notice to temporarily close down the plant. Moreover, following the incident, locals staged a protest demanding a proper investigation and the permanent closure of the company.

Notably, only in November 2022, two individuals lost their lives in a similar explosion at the same plant, sources said. Moreover, then too, locals protested and claimed that the discharge of wastewater from the plant had contaminated both soil and seawater in the area.

About 500 people work at the company in different shifts, sources said. Following a blast, a fire broke out at the plant on Saturday night. It was extinguished by fire and rescue personnel after a prolonged effort. The injured workers were immediately taken to JIPMER for treatment. Locals from nearby entered the premises and vandalised the reception area, but police promptly cleared them.

In an official statement released by Solara Active Pharma Sciences on Sunday, it was mentioned that the fire occurred in the Ibuprofen plant’s pharma and packaging blocks. “Eleven injured workers were shifted to a private super-speciality hospital in Chennai, and three others are undergoing treatment in a Puducherry hospital. We have taken measures to ensure the injured receive high-quality treatment,” the statement added.

Puducherry government, along with other officials, inspected the site and issued a notice to temporarily close the plant. The notice stated that an automobile (mini-truck) operated without following proper safety precautions had caused the initial explosion, a vapour cloud explosion (VCE). The notice also invoked section 40 of the Factories Act, 1948, prohibiting further use of the Ibuprofen plant’s pharma and packaging blocks until necessary repairs are carried out and safety measures are in place.

Four workers who were admitted to the hospital in Chennai are in serious condition, sources said. Residents of Kalapet and surrounding areas staged a protest, demanding the permanent closure of the company. Congress state president and MP V Vaithilingam, former chief minister V Narayanasamy, and others expressed support for the protesters. A case has been filed, and further probe is on, police officials said.

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