LG Polymers on Saturday said the tragedy at Vishakhapatnam happened because of leaking vapor from the styrene monomer (SM) gas storage tank at its facility.

The toxic gas leak on Thursday killed 11 people, in one of the deadliest industrial accidents since the Bhopal tragedy of 1984. A first information report, or FIR, has been registered against LG Polymers India Pvt. Ltd.

“Our initial investigations suggest that the cause of the incident is prima facie by the leaking vapor from the Styrene Monomer (SM) storage tank near the GPPS (General Purpose Poly Styrene) factory on Thursday, May 7,” LG Polymers said in a statement.

Initial reports had suggested that maintenance failures, operating errors, and improper storage of the toxic styrene gas, may have led to the tragedy.

Mint reported on Friday about Andhra Pradesh government looking to shut down LG Polymers India’s Visakhapatnam facility. The state government, headed by chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, is considering closing the facility as factories handling hazardous chemicals should not be located near densely populated areas and should be zoned off.

Styrene, the gas leaked is an important commercial chemical, which is used in making make plastics, paints, synthetic rubber, insulation, fibreglass, pipes, automobile parts, food containers and disposal cups.

“We are happy to confirm that the status-quo at the plant is brought under control this morning,” the statement said and added, “While focusing on stabilizing the plant, we assure you that we are doing our best to extend all the possible support to ensure people and their families who have been affected by this incident are taken care of. Our teams are working day and night with the government to assess the impact of the damage caused and create concrete measures to deliver an effective care package that can be implemented immediately.”

The incident occurred at 3 am on Thursday in RR Venkatapuram village, Gopalapatnam Mandal in Visakhpatnam district and affected the surrounding villages of Narava, B.C Colony, Bapuji Nagar, Kampalapalem and Krishna Nagar.

The state government has also constituted a committee to conduct a study on the precautionary measures that should be taken. The National Green Tribunal has issued notices, ordered the factory to deposit an initial amount of 50 crore for the damage caused, and formed a fact-finding panel.

News Source: Livemint


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