The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Nation at a Glance

Seven killed in SAIL plant blast

Shimoga (Karnataka) (PTI): Seven employees were charred to death and nine injured in a blast at the Steel Authority of India Ltd-run plant at Bhadravathi near here early on Thursday.

Two senior officials were among the victims, who died on the spot in a sudden blast of hot steel at the Visweswariah Iron and Steel Limited, police and company sources said.

The injured have been admitted to hospitals here and in Manipal. The condition of two persons is stated to be critical.

A huge explosion woke up residents in nearby areas around 2 am when the blast occurred in the 24-tonne liquid hot metal converter plant in the factory, spread over 4.25 sq. km on the banks of the Bhadra river.

The bodies of the employees killed were charred, police said. They were identified as senior manager S.R. Sreedhara Murthy, assistant manager B.S. Chandrashekhar, senior operators T.H Shivashankar, Hutchaiah and M.B. Lakanna, operator Anthony and contract labourer Venkatesh.

A high-level committee headed by S. Kumar, executive director, Research and Development Centre for Iron and Steel at Ranchi, has been constituted to probe the incident, an official statement released from Bangalore said.

Agitated factory workers alleged that an “unrectified leakage” had caused the blast.

The workers demanded Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the families of the victims and a job to a member.

Expressing grief over the incident, Union steel minister Braj Kishore Tripathy said all assistance, “monetary or otherwise”, must be provided to the members of the deceased and the injured.

Visl — one of the premier alloy and steel producing factories in the country — was started by visionary M. Visweswaraiah, diwan of the erstwhile Mysore state, after whom it is named.

The company was owned by the Karnataka government but was handed over to SAIL following problems.

Cows pushed to death

Laldang Khud: Seventy stray cows rounded up from Chandigarh by municipal corporation authorities were last week allegedly pushed down a deep gorge on the Himachal Pradesh-Haryana border, reports our correspondent.

As many as 23 perished in the 60-foot fall on July 25 at Poanta Sahib. The others were rescued by residents of nearby villages. Acknowledging some cows were shunted out from the city, mayor Subhash Chawla of the Congress said he was ready to face an inquiry. “I have no idea that it is the same batch of cows that had been forced down the gorge. We are ready to face any probe. Shunting out cows is a 40-year-old practice which continues even under the BJP,” he said.

Inquiries revealed the stray cattle were packed in seven trucks, including two of the corporation, and brought to Laldang, about 130 km from Chandigarh. The incident came to light when the carcasses in the dense forest in the area started decaying.

Bodo language bill

New Delhi (PTI): The Centre on Thursday decided to include the Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. This clause was included in the accord signed with the Bodoland Liberation Tigers in February. It will be the second language from Assam in the statute. “The bill is likely to be placed in Parliament in a few days,” Rajya Sabha MP U.G. Brahma said.

Leopard caged

Dehra Dun (PTI): A leopard that let loose a rein of terror at Dev Prayag in Tehri district was captured by the Uttaranchal forest department. She was trapped on Wednesday night when she went to eat a dog bait. The animal had killed half-a-dozen people and injured many. Her teeth were found broken when the leopard was captured. The animal would be released in the Rajaji Park.

Summons to cops

Nagpur (PTI): A Bombay High Court bench here has directed four top police officials in Vidarbha to be present on August 11 to explain the steps initiated to arrest 160 prisoners absconding after their release on parole or furlough. The DIG prisons had admitted in an affidavit that the missing prisoners were hardcore criminals.


Jayalalithaa on Thursday donated her three months’ salary, Rs 30,000, to three temples for the implementation of the Annadhanam (free lunch to devotees) scheme. She also gave Rs 30,460 from the MGR trust to a student in Villupuram district to study engineering.

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