Six killed, many hurt in sugar mill boiler blast in Bihar’s Gopalganj, govt orders probe
At least 100 workers were on duty when the boiler of the Sasa Musa sugar mill in Bihar’s Gopalganj district exploded, probably due to overheating.india Updated: Dec 21, 2017 21:50 IST
PATNA At least six labourers were killed after the boiler at of a private sugar mill in northwest Bihar’s Gopalganj district exploded on Wednesday night.
Twelve more labourers sustained serious burn injuries in the explosion at the Sasa Musa private sugar mill, 143 km northwest of state capital Patna.
Four of the injured were airlifted to Patna by two helicopters in view of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)-sponsored Bihar bandh in protest against the state government’s new mineral policy and sand crisis. They have been admitted to Patna Medical College Hospital.
The remaining injured have been taken to Gorakhpur in the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh for treatment.
Police said three of those killed had been identified as Arjun Kumar Kushwaha, Kripa Yadav and Mohammad Shahsuddin, said police.
Gopalganj superintendent of police Mrityunjay Kumar Chowdhary said mill owner Mahmood Ali and his two sons had been detained for safety reasons after angry people went on the rampage on the factory campus. He said the mob also attacked Ali’s house and set on fire four vehicles parked there.
Work was in full swing when the boiler exploded. At least 100 workers were on duty at the time of the incident and the toll could mount as many workers were still trapped inside the mill. Personnel of the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) have been pressed into service to rescue the trapped mill workers.
Locals said they heard a loud blast at around 11.35pm. Overheating of the boiler could be the reason for the explosion, they said.
Arun Kumar Kushwaha, brother of one of the victims, said a pipe of the mill boiler had exploded a few days ago also but it was later repaired.
“Perhaps, lack of proper maintenance and inspection was the reason behind the incident. There had been demands in the past to change worn out parts of the machine and deploy experts, but to no avail, while minor mishaps kept taking place,” he added.
Chief minister Nitish Kumar has ordered an inquiry into the incident and announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the family of victims. The inquiry will be conducted by principal secretaries of sugarcane industries and labour resource departments, S Sidharth and Dipak Kumar Singh, respectively.
Meanwhile, RJD chief Lalu Prasad has expressed grief over the deaths in the boiler blast. While appealing to people to maintain calm, Prasad asked the administration to ‘speed up’ the rescue work and ensure proper treatment of the injured.
The inquiry will be conducted by principal secretaries of sugarcane industries and labour resource departments, S Sidharth and Dipak Kumar Singh, respectively