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Upkeep poser after mishap

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MANOJ KAR,   |     |   Published 22.02.12, 12:00 AM

Paradip, Feb. 21: A day after the collapse of the DAP fertilizer storage tower at the Iffco fertiliser plant here, a joint inquiry by state government and the company begun today to ascertain the causes leading to the mishap.

Yesterday’s mishap, that left at least 23 workers injured, had laid bare gaping holes in the safety mechanism at industrial ventures in and around Paradip. The workers’ unions have stepped up their demand for foolproof safety mechanism at industrial units in and around Paradip.

A technical committee headed by Iffco’s director (technical), K.L. Singh, inspected the mishap site and two more operational DAP fertilizer structures of the company. The probe team wouldsubmit its findings to the Iffco board of directors, said company sources.

A separate inquiry was simultaneously conducted today by the state government's director of factories and boilers, added sources.

However, various workers’ unions alleged the mishap was man-made and occurred due to absence of periodic maintenance. Earlier this month, an accidental leak of liquefied ammonia gas from a conveyer belt had left at least three employees of the plant ill.

General secretary of Paradip Industrial Workers’ Union Ullas Swain said: “We demand a fair and unbiased inquiry so that an incident of this nature does not recur. The storage structure was poorly maintained and in a dilapidated state. Nothing was done to refurbish it after cooperative fertilizer major Iffco took over the privately-owned plant in 2005.”

A platoon of armed police force is still deployed at the fertilizer plant site as an air of uneasiness prevails.

“Police forces have been deployed as a precautionary measure. There is no question of workers remaining trapped under the debris. We have crosschecked yesterday’s attendance list of workers who were on duty at the storage tower. None of them are missing,” said inspector of Paradip police station, Anil Mishra.

“We are yet to register a case in connection with yesterday’s mishap. Police are investigating the negligence and lack of safety aspect of the plant management,” he said.


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