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9 dead, 12 injured after gas pipeline blast in Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh

Bhilai Steel Plant is operated by the state-run Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).

india Updated: Oct 10, 2018 09:18 IST
Ritesh Mishra
Ritesh Mishra
Hindustan Times, Raipur
Bhilai Steel Plant,Chhattisgarh,PM Modi
Fire breaks out at Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh on Tuesday. (HT Photo)

Nine people were killed and 14 others injured on Tuesday in a blast at the Bhilai Steel Plant of state-owned SAIL in Chhattisgarh’s Durg district, police said. The explosion took place around 10:45 am in a gas pipeline connected to the coke oven section of the plant in Bhilai town, around 30 km away from the state capital.

“Five of the injured are very serious and are admitted in the district hospital. The figures (of the dead) could rise,” inspector general of police (Durg Range) GP Singh said. “We are waiting for the post-mortem report of the bodies and after that we will register a case under section 304 (— causing death by negligence — and start the investigation,” said Singh.

The blast took place around 10:45 am following a fire in a gas pipe line of Coke Oven Battery Complex No 11 during a scheduled maintenance job, SAIL said in a statement.

“There was an uneven pressure in the gas pipeline for last two days and it needed to be attended,” said SP Dey, president of Bhilai unit of Centre for Indian Trade Union. “The maintenance was to be done as per the protocol but when the joints in the pipeline were opened, the blast took place leading to fire”.

“The explosion took place about 40 feet above the ground and all the employees including the protocol workers sustained injuries. Nine of them died on the spot,” said Puran Lal, an eyewitness who sustained minor injuries in the incident.

“Most of the bodies could only be identified through a DNA test,” said Dey.

In June 2014, six persons, including two deputy general managers, were killed and many others affected when a poisonous gas leaked in the plant, he said.

New agency PTI quoted Union Minister of State for Steel Vishnudeo Sai as saying that a four-member high-level committee has been constituted (by SAIL) to probe the incident. Adequate compensation will be given to the families of the deceased, Sai said

Chhattisgarh Governor Anandiben Patel and chief minister Raman Singh condoled the death of employees and wished for speedy recovery of the injured. “I extend my deepest condolence to the family members of the deceased,” Patel said in her condolence message.

Chhattisgarh Revenue Minister Premprakash Pandey, state Congress chief Bhupesh Baghel and other party leaders besides senior company officials visited the injured in the hospital.

Former chief minister Ajit Jogi’s party, the Janata Congress Chhattisgarh (J), has demanded a compensation of Rs 1 crore for the kin of each of the deceased.

As per SAIL’s website, the Bhilai Steel Plant is India’s sole producer and supplier of world class rails for the Indian Railways.

First Published: Oct 09, 2018 13:36 IST