PM reviews situation as 11 die in Visakhapatnam gas leak incident
Visakhapatnam/New Delhi: At least 11 people, including a minor, died following a leakage of styrene gas at LG Polymers’ Visakhapatnam plant in the early hours of Thursday. Besides, about 1,000 people reported sick as the gas leak affected five villages within a three-km radius of the plant. Over 300 persons were hospitalized and out them more than 20 were on ventilators.
The incident of Styrene gas leakage occurred in a chemical plant in the early hours today at 3 am in RR Venkatapuram village, Gopalapatnam Mandal in Visakhapatnam District. It affected the surrounding villages namely Narava, B.C Colony, Bapuji Nagar, Kampalapalem and Krishna Nagar. Styrene gas, which is toxic in nature, may cause irritation to the skin, eyes and causes respiratory problems and other medical conditions.
Also read: Vizag gas tragedy is not the first such incident to take place there
The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team with CBRN personnel at Visakhapatnam was deployed immediately to support the State Government and local administration. The NDRF team carried out immediate evacuation of communities living in the immediate vicinity of the site. The specialized CBRN unit of NDRF from Pune and NEERI expert team from Nagpur, have left for Visakhapatnam. Besides, DGHS will provide specialized medical advice to the medical practitioners on the ground.
The High Court of Andhra Pradesh took suo motu cognizance of the incident. It observed that it was a matter of “enquiry and assessment” that the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, 1986 as well as Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989 formulated in terms of the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act, had been observed or not. Styrene has been shown as a hazardous chemical in the list of the hazardous chemicals specified at SI.No.583, and the Court observed that under those rules there are general responsibilities of the occupier during industrial activity, notification for major accidents and other things are specified.
The court ordered immediate steps to bring own the effect of the leakage of the Styrene gas by sprinkling of water or other substances which may curtail further damage by requesting Fire services from the nearby areas in reserve shall be ensured by the Government. Simultaneously, the repeated leakage must be checked”. “It is informed that the Central Government has directed to send the NDRF teams from the States of Gauhati, Goa and Daman and Diu to the State Government to take adequate steps,” the Court noted and directed the state government to ensure adequate medical facilities, food and nutrition, evacuation of the affected persons, opening of the private hospitals in Visakhapatnam area for medical aid to the needy person.
On receiving the first information about the incident today morning, the Prime Minister and the Home Minister talked with Andhra Pradesh chief minister Jagan Reddy, and assured all required aid and assistance from the Centre to tackle the situation. They are monitoring the situation closely and continuously, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Taking stock of the situation Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting today morning to take stock of the steps being taken in response to the Visakhapatnam gas leak incident. He discussed at length the measures being taken for the safety of the affected people as well as for securing the site affected by the disaster. The meeting was attended by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh, Home Minister Amit Shah,Ministers of State for Home Affairs, Nityanand Rai and G. Kishan Reddy,besides other senior officers.
Immediately after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary took a detailed review meeting along with the Secretaries of the Ministries of Home Affairs, Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Chemicalsand Petrochemicals, Pharmaceuticals, Information and Broadcasting; Members of the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Director General (DG), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF); Director General of Health Services (DGHS) and Director AIIMS, and other medical experts; to chart out specific steps to support the management of the situation on the ground. Principal Secretary to Prime Minister was also present in the meeting.
It was decided that a team from CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) unit of NDRF from Pune,along with an expert team of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur would be rushed to Vishakhapatnam immediately to support the State Government in the management of the crisis on the ground, and also to take measures for resolving the short term as also long term medical impact of the leak.[the_ad_placement id=”sidebar-feed”]