Two weeks after the chimney of under-construction 1200 MW power plant of Bharat Aluminum Company Ltd (Balco) collapsed in Korba, about 240 km from Raipur, the Chhattisgarh police on Wednesday arrested a senior official of Gannon Dunkerley & Company Limited (GDCL). It is the first arrest by the police after the mishap that occurred on September 23.
“We have arrested a project manager of GDCL, Manoj Sharma, and produced him before the court of judicial magistrate first class in Korba district”, said the Korba district superintendent of police Ratanlal Dangi. The court is likely to give its decision in the evening.
Sharma, who was project site incharge of the chimney construction, is arrested on charges of gross negligence and culpable homicide not amounting to murder, the SP informed. The chimney caved-in when it reached the height of 240 metres. Over forty-five persons died in the mishap.
Bagging the contract from Balco, the Sepco assigned the task to GDCL for construction of a 275-metre chimney for the power plant. According to the GDCL officials the construction cost of the chimney was 44 crores
“It appears the GDCL had utilised low quality construction materials and violated the essential norms that should have been technically followed during the chimney construction” Dangi said.
The Sepco staff and GDCL officials fled the Korba city after the mishap on September 23.
Meanwhile the police continued the interrogation of Chinese officials after procuring the documents related to the project from them. “More arrest is possible in the next few days”, Dangi hinted as the interrogation proceeds.
Balco is owned by the London-based Vendanta Resouces Plc, in which the Government of India holds 49 percent stake.