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HPCL management responsible for recent blast, says CPI(M)

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Justice SC Jain Committee recommendations totally ignored Visakhapatnam: State executive committee member of Communist Party of India (Marxist) Ch...

Justice SC Jain Committee recommendations totally ignored

Visakhapatnam: State executive committee member of Communist Party of India (Marxist) Ch Narasing Rao, city unit member M Jaggu Naidu and city secretary B Ganga Rao held the management of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) solely responsible for the major blast that led to the collapse of an under-construction cooling tower on Friday in which eight persons were killed and more than 40 sustained burns.

Talking to reporters here on Sunday, Mr Narasing Rao condemned the management’s attempt to put down the reason behind the huge disaster to a mere ‘technical snag.’ Referring to the management’s statement that the blast was due to gas leak when water entered the cooling tower, he questioned if it not its responsibility to take proper steps before going for a trail run.

Stating that the whole disaster resulted in the loss of lives of workmen and no justice will not be done by high power committee to be set up by Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily, he demand a judicial probe into the whole incident.

Further, CPM leaders found fault with the Union Minister Veerappa Moily for not visiting the injured undergoing treatment in various hospitals and demanded ex-gratia to even those who suffered less than 50 per cent of burns because they cannot work even after recovery. Mr Narasing Rao alleged that the HPCL management has completely ignored the implementation of the recommendations given by the three-man committee headed by Justice SC Jain after the September, 1997 major disaster in the plant.

The recommendations include that plant supervisory personnel shall be qualified, experienced and trained in handling hazardous substances and mock drills on emergency plants shall be carried out periodically. Further the committee totally disallowed employing casual labour and contract labour at sensitive operational duties relating to gas pipelines both for LPG and for Naphtha and all individuals working in LPG plant be provided with walkie-talkies.

Mr Narasing Rao charged that the management deployed contract labour at all vulnerable and sensitive points of work against the norms and in the process, a contract engineer Yarlagadda Ajay was killed on the spot in a mishap at the sub-station-6d2 inside the plant on May 8 this year. Demanding a judicial probe in to the incident, he threatened that the party will continue its fight till the management takes appropriate safety measures for all workmen functioning inside the plant.

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