Two killed, five injured in Shahad textile plant explosion
While police sources pegged the time of the explosion at between 10.15 and 10.45 am, the company in its official statement said that it took place at 11.15 am. Workers said it shattered the windows of the nearby sections in the plant while local residents said it was so powerful that its effects were felt in areas like Tanaji Nagar, Shahad Phata, Shivneri Nagar, Gulshan Nagar and Shahad Gaothan, all within a one-km radius of the plant
Shahad: Two employees were killed, two were reported missing and five were injured after a tanker exploded in the Century Rayon plant on Murbad Road in Ulhasnagar’s Shahad town. The tanker was due to be filled in the carbon disulphide (CS2) section but exploded before that while it was still under inspection. Police officials said the Directorate of Industrial Security would conduct a probe to find out what led to the incident and whether all security measures were in place.
The deceased have been identified as CS2 section operator Rajesh Shrivastava, 46, and helper Shailesh Yadav, 25. The injured are Century Rayon employees Sagar Jhelte, 44, and Prakash Nikam, 34, tanker driver Pandit More, the driver’s helper Hanshraj Saroj, 52 and a person identified as Amit Bharnuke. They were taken to Century Rayon Hospital, and one person was shifted to Jupiter Hospital in Thane for further treatment. The two missing people were identified as Pawan Yadav and Ananta Jadhav Dingode, and the authorities are looking for them.
While police sources pegged the time of the explosion at between 10.15 and 10.45 am, the company in its official statement said that it took place at 11.15 am. Workers said it shattered the windows of the nearby sections in the plant while local residents said it was so powerful that its effects were felt in areas like Tanaji Nagar, Shahad Phata, Shivneri Nagar, Gulshan Nagar and Shahad Gaothan, all within a one-km radius of the plant.
The preliminary investigation suggests that the tanker exploded before carbon disulfide was filled in it. “CS2 is highly inflammable, and thus an inspection of the tanker is carried out and nitrogen gas is used to cool down the temperature before CS2 can be filled. The inspection was going on with nitrogen gas processing, when the explosion occurred,” said Dilip Phulpagare, senior police inspector, Ulhasnagar police station. “We have lodged an Accidental Death Report and further investigations are on.” The officer said that body parts found at the explosion site would be sent for forensic and DNA testing.
Brijesh Yadav, brother of the deceased Shailesh Yadav, rushed to the hospital with his family members when he heard about the accident, but his brother had already been declared dead by then. “Shailesh stayed at Kalyan, while his wife and two children—a three-year-old daughter and a one-year-old son—lived at Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh,” he said. “He had been made a permanent employee only six months ago. “Earlier, my father was working here but due to his health issues the company employed my brother in his stead three and a half years ago. He was earning a salary of ₹18,000 per month.”
Vivek Shrivastava, the brother of the second deceased, Rajesh Shrivastava, said that his brother had worked in the CS2 department as an operator for 25 years, and lived in Kalyan with his wife and two children. “I work in another unit in the same company,” he said. “When I got to know about the accident, I rushed here and searched for him, but I could not find him. Subsequently, I got to know that one body had been taken to Central Hospital, and went there. My brother’s torso is missing.”
Ganesh Mhatre, nephew of Ananta Jadhav who has been reported missing, said that he and his family went to the hospital but his uncle could not be traced by the company authorities. “My uncle worked here for the last 20 years as a permanent employee,” he said. “He has two children.”
The Century Rayon public relations officer told HT that a third-party tanker which arrived at the plant site got ruptured while it was under inspection before being filled. “After the incident, all emergency services were activated, and the area was cordoned off,” he said. “We have initiated an internal investigation to ascertain the cause of the accident. Suitable compensation and job assurance to the dependents of the deceased are being planned.”
Rohit Pawar, NCP MLA, visited the hospital after hearing about the explosion. “The company should take precautions so that such explosions do not recur,” he said. “Action should be taken if anyone is held responsible for the explosion. We will stand by the people who suffered this tragic blow if they do not get justice.”