The Centre of Indian Trade Unions expresses serious concern over reported ‘Styrene’ gas leakage at early morning little after 1 a.m. at the South Korean LG Polymer factory at K R Venkatapuram village at Visakhapatnam. The leakage has been so massive that it affected the inhabitants of the adjoining area beyond 3.5 kilometre radius of the Plastic Plant.

As per report received till 12 O’clock, 10 persons have died including one child and hundreds are seriously affected. Around 1000 are hospitalized in serious conditions. Evacuation of the local inhabitants from the area is reportedly going on.

The leakage took place while the 5000 tonne- capacity tanker was being filled with chemicals in preparation to start the factory operations shortly. The leakage took place owing to utter neglect and failure on the part of the company to ensure basic preventive safety as per Standard Operative Procedures (SOP) on chemical handling, with the gas spreading fast to the adjoining areas. The LG Polymer Plant, having its plant located in the midst of thickly populated areas cannot evade its responsibility to ensure that machineries and chemical/gas-storage facilities are properly maintained even during shutdown/lockdown. It was its responsibility to ensure that the required caution is exercised and safety norms are continuously followed to avoid any leakage/accident endangering human lives. As per report, both the two huge tankers with chemicals were left unattended during the lockdown by the Company management. The incident of gas leakage is nothing but a reflection of criminal negligence on the part of the company concerned only of minimising cost to maximise profit.  

This shows that the Govts, both at the Centre and State have not drawn any lessons from the Bhopal Gas tragedy decades back owing to such criminal default on the part of Union Carbide. The LG Polymers Company must not be allowed  to go scot-free. The Company should be held responsible and liable for this disastrous gas-leakage and must be prosecuted. The company also must be  made to pay not less than Rs 50 lakh as compensation to the families of those who lost their lives; adequate compensation must also be paid to all the other affected people; the Company also must be made to bear the entire expenditure for medical treatment of all those affected by the gas leakage.

CITU demands that the Govt must initiate an enquiry by an independent competent agency on the real cause of the accident/leakage to draw the lessons for further regulation/monitoring of the operations of the chemical plant besides fixing accountability in concrete terms. At the same time relocation of the factory beyond the populated areas should be seriously considered.

Issued by

( Tapan Sen )
General Secretary

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