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Magisterial probe into Bhilai Steel plant deaths

Bhilai, Jun 13 (PTI): A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the death of six people in a gas leak on Thursday at the Bhilai plant of Steel Authority of India Ltd in Chhattisgarh.

“A magisterial inquiry, headed by the Durg Additional District Magistrate, has been ordered into Thursday’s incident,” Durg Collector R. Sangeetha said on Friday.

Deputy General Managers B.K. Singh (56) and N.K. Kataria (56), master technician A. Samuel (48), senior operator Yarad Ram Sahu (53), assistant fire station officer Ramesh Kumar Sharma (58) and contract labourer Vikas Verma died and 30 were injured after inhaling gas that leaked when a water pump broke down at the gas cleaning pumps of the blast furnace, at around 6.10pm on Thursday.

Bhilai Steel specialises in making rails and heavy steel plates. The accident has affected operations.

Initially, 34 people were taken to Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital and Research Centre in Sector-9, Bhilai, after they fell ill upon inhaling the poisonous gas.

Five of them, including the two DGMs, died during treatment at the hospital, while the body of a worker, Vikas Verma, was found after de-watering the pump house where the mishap occurred.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has discussed the matter with state Chief Minister Raman Singh over the telephone on Friday. He is learnt to have expressed his condolences for the families of the deceased and stressed on the need for proper treatment of and assistance to those who have been taken ill following the accident.

Meanwhile, SAIL Chairman C.S. Verma reached the plant on Friday morning to review the situation.