Four days after a worker was killed in a blast at Bhushan Steel Plant (BSL) in Odisha's Dhenkanal district, 42 of the 70 foreigners from the factory moved to Bhubaneswar on Sunday for security reasons due to unrest in the area.
"Forty-two engineers and consultants, all Italians, moved to Bhubaneswar on their own as there is no work in the plant due to the unrest after the November 13 mishap," Dhenkanal superintendent of police Manoranjan Mohanty said.
The police helped the foreigners to come out of the plant and to prevent any confrontation by agitators who were protesting in front of the plant. The explosion took place during commissioning of the new blast furnace-II on Wednesday, Mohanty said.
Altogether 74 foreigners were engaged in the plant and four of them had earlier left the place, the SP said, adding that efforts were on to verify whether they had left for their respective countries or were still in Odisha.
The SP, however, denied that any foreign engineer was killed in the fire and said 28 foreigners belonging to about 10 countries were now left at the plant.
Meanwhile, the police scrutinised and verified the documents of foreigners after they reached Bhubaneswar.
In the face of apprehension that five foreigners might have perished in the inferno, Odisha labour minister Bijayashree Routray said the district collector and SP were asked to thoroughly investigate and ascertain facts.
"We have issued instruction to the district administration and the police to thoroughly investigate as to how many foreigners were there at the time of the fire. Their finding will be final," the minister said.
Dismissing apprehension about possible death of five foreigners, BSL managing director AK Raina said only one worker was killed in the mishap.
Meanwhile, an expert team from Rourkela Steel Plant examined the mishap site to ascertain whether the standard operation procedure was followed before commissioning the new blast furnace.