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Technician falls to death at steel plant

Rourkela, March 4: A 40-year-old technician working at the Rourkela Steel Plant died today after accidentally falling from the blast furnace.

Ranjan Kumar Singh, a senior technician, was today working in the blast furnace-II, when he fell from the top of the furnace. The authorities have been trying to reactivate this furnace that was shut down earlier.

The incident occurred around 11.30am. He was rushed to Ispat General Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries. Singh, who hailed from Cuttack, is survived by his wife Jyotirmayee Singh, a six-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son.

“We seized the body and conducted an autopsy. It was an accident and we are looking into the matter,” said a senior police officer who is in charge of the case.

G.S. Prasad, CEO of Rourkela Steel Plant, promised all support to the bereaved family. “The cause of the accident is being investigated,” he said.

The workers’ union of the plant said when Singh was rushed to the hospital, he was almost dead. “The authorities had overlooked the safety norms while he was working. Luckily there were no other workers around or there would have been more casualties,” said Bishnu Mohanty, secretary of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions, a representative union of workers.

The incident sparked tension among the workers. The union representatives said they demanded the authorities follow safety norms, which was violated in this case. “Besides, we demand an inquiry by the director of safety or director of factories and boilers into this mishap,” said Mohanty.

The workers also demanded compensation to the family members of the deceased and job to the nearest relative or dependant of Singh.

This is the second accident inside Rourkela Steel Plant in 15 days. On February 18, Jugal Horo, 29, a contractual labourer, who was working in the service bunker-II of battery-I of the coke ovens department died when he fell from a height of 70 metres. He was rushed to hospital but was declared brought dead.

The safety department findings on Horo’s death are yet to be made public.