LG Polymers India Private Limited on Friday clarified that the situation at its plant here was under control and media reports of a second leak were incorrect. On Thursday in the gas leak incident in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam, 11 people had died and hundreds were admitted in the hospital for treatment.
There were reports of a second gas leakage from the plant late Thursday night, triggering panic among residents in other areas surrounding the plant. A large number of people were seen moving to safe places after fumes started emanating from the plant.
“All necessary measures such as using added water, etc are being used to keep the temperatures under control,” the company said in a statement.
It said it requested the authorities for evacuation of residents as a precautionary measure.
“We are working closely with the authorities to contain the damage and ensure the safety and health of all local residents and our employees,” the company added.
Meanwhile, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) slapped an interim penalty of Rs 50 crore on LG Polymers India and sought response from the Centre and others on Friday in the gas leak incident saying that “there appears to be a failure to comply with the said rules and other statutory provisions”.
A major early morning chemical leak from a polymer plant near Visakhapatnam impacted villages in a five-km radius, leaving many people dead and scores of citizens suffering from breathlessness and other problems, as the AP government ordered a probe into the issue.
The leak was noticed by company staff who were reportedly inspecting machines to restart the factory and raised an alarm.
Hours after the styrene gas leak around 2.30 am on Thursday from the multinational L G Polymers Plant at R R Venkatapuram village near here, scores of people could be seen lying unconscious on sidewalks, near ditches and on the road, raising fears of a major industrial disaster.
Around 800 persons were initially rushed for treatment to various hospitals after complaining of breathing difficulties, and burning sensation in the eyes. Then later 240 people with health complications were undergoing treatment at the King George Hospital, Visakhapatnam and 20 of them were on ventilator support.
National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Andhra Pradesh Special Police (APSP) and nearby police had swung into action to rescue and shift people to safe places.
District officials, however, said the emissions following the leakage early Thursday continued even as the rescue workers sprayed water to bring down the temperature.
Experts from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were Friday gearing up to launch an operation to plug the emissions with a special chemical, which acts as an antidote to Styrene.
The plant makes polystyrene, a versatile plastic used in fiberglass, rubber and latex and for making toys and appliances among other things. Set up in 1961 as Hindustan Polymers, the company was taken over by South Korea’s LG Chem and renamed LG Polymers India in 1997.
Venkatapuram and four other villages near the plant were evacuated following the gas leak, which occurred a day after the plant restarted its operations following a gap of more than 40 days due to the lockdown.