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Bhushan hits House

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 3: The state government today turned down the Opposition’s demand for a CBI inquiry or a House committee probe into the Bhushan steel plant mishap.

The accident that took place on November 13 at its plant site at Meramundli killed three labourers and left 28 injured.

On the other hand, Orissa High Court today issued notice to the state government on a public interest litigation seeking closure of the steel plant in Dhenkanal for the recent mishap.

Labour minister Bijayshree Routray said: “There is no need for a CBI inquiry. Fifteen criminal cases have been lodged against the plant management and 120 criminal cases against the contractors engaged in the steel plant in the past seven years. We will not allow them to open the blast furnace-II till they comply with all the safety measures.”

Expressing displeasure over the minister’s reply, the Opposition members staged a walk out.

Both the treasury and Opposition members, however, demanded arrest of the management members of the Bhushan steel.

In yet another development, acting on a PIL, the high court today issued notices to the chief secretary, secretaries of the revenue and disaster management, industries, steel and mines, chairman of the state pollution control board, labour commissioner, managing directors of Idco and Bhushan Steel Plant, Dhenkanal.

The public interest liktigation, filed by Udayanath Behera and four other residents of nearby Banharpal, Sarpa, Raghunathpur and Kantabania alleged that the steel plant had violated safety laws and not obtained environmental clearance for the blast furnace-II.

“The division bench of Justice Pradip Mohanty and Justice Debabrata Dash adjourned the matter for hearing after one week along with reply from the state government,” petitioners’ counsel Trilochan Barik told The Telegraph.

After a preliminary inquiry the director of the factories and boiler P.C. Das had also maintained that all blames should be put on the plant authorities as they did not take any permission from us while commissioning the blast furnace-II.