Two senior officials of the Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) were suspended and the COO removed following an explosion on Tuesday which claimed the lives of 11 persons and injured another 12.

Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh, who visited the injured employees at the hospital on Wednesday, 10 October, said that General Manager, Safety, T Pandya Raja and Deputy General Manager, Energy Department, Naveen Kumar have been suspended

He said that COO M Ravi has been removed with immediate effect adding that all three positions will be filled by today.

The minister also announced ex gratia Rs. 30 lakhs to family of the deceased, Rs. 15 lakhs to those seriously injured and Rs. 2 lakh to those with minor injuries.

“The tentative amount against the statutory compensation to the family of the deceased shall vary from Rs. 33 lakhs to Rs. 95 lakhs. We will also provide financial support for education till graduation to children and one employment to the dependent family,” he wrote on Twitter.

 

A gas pipeline exploded at the plant located in Chhattisgarh’s Durg district on Tuesday immediately killing six people. Three more died later in the day.

Six of those who died worked in the plant’s energy management department, while three were employees of its fire brigade unit.

Police said that more than 20 employees were working at the spot when the blast happened.

State-run Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), which operates the plant, issued a statement on Tuesday stating that the blast took place around 10.30 am in the pipeline connected to the coke oven section of the plant.

“In an unfortunate incident at around 10.30 am, today in SAIL Bhilai Steel Plant, there was a fire in gas pipe line of Coke Oven Battery Complex No 11 during a scheduled maintenance job. Some persons working at the site sustained burn injury,” the statement read.

All the injured were brought to the burns unit of the Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital in Bhilai for treatment yesterday.

The Union Minister, along with Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, visited the hospital in Bhilai town which is located around 30 km from Raipur.

“Reached Bhilai to take stock of the situation after the coke oven blast yesterday. We are ensuring that we extend all possible help to the families who lost their member yesterday and provide best treatment to the injured,” the minister said in a tweet before visiting the hospital.

 

The government said that a four-member high-level committee was constituted by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL), which operates the plant, to probe the incident.

Inspector General of Police (Durg Range) GP Singh had said earlier that after receiving the post-mortem report of the deceased, a case under the IPC Section 304 (A) (causing death by negligence) will be registered followed by an inquiry into the incident.

In a statement, Ministry of Steel said it has contacted Ministry of Health and four burns specialist doctors from AIIMS Delhi have been rushed to Bhilai for treatment of the injured.

Based on the advice of the AIIMS burns specialists, the line of treatment is being followed and administered.

“Out of the injured, three are serious and in a critical condition. One person is on watch and the others are being given treatment for various stages of burn injuries,” the statement said

Minister of State for Steel Vishnudeo Sai, Steel Secretary Binoy Kumar and SAIL Chairman Anil Kumar Chaudhary had reached to Bhilai last evening and visited the hospital to enquire about the condition of the injured.

In June this year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had dedicated the modernised and expanded Bhilai Steel Plant to the nation.

The plant is India’s sole producer and supplier of world class rails for the Indian Railways and a major producer of a large variety of wide and heavy steel plates and structural steel.

The plant has an annual production capacity of 3.153 MT of saleable steel.