Andhra Pradesh police arrested 12 people, including the Chief Executive Officer and two LG Polymers Ltd Directors in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. They also suspended three officers for negligence, exactly two months after a gas leak occurred at the LG Polymer plant.
Andhra Police arrested officials of LG Polymers for negligence on the Visakhapatnam gas leak. This comes as a development to the high-power committee appointed by the State government, led by Special Chief Secretary (Environment and Forests) Neerabh Kumar Prasad, to probe into styrene vapour leak from LG Polymers in Vishakhapatnam.
On Tuesday, the Andhra Pradesh police arrested 12 people, including the Chief Executive Officer and two LG Polymers Ltd Directors in the Visakhapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh. They also suspended three officers for negligence, exactly two months after a gas leak occurred at the LG Polymer plant in the R.R. Venkatapuram village of the Gopalpatnam, located at the outskirts of Visakhapatnam. The issue rekindled when the staff of LG Polymer planned for the reopening of the plant.
The panel investigating the circumstances which led to Styrene Leak found fault with the LG Polymers management that there was a lack of sufficient protection for safety responses at the plant. The plant authorities failed to follow the protocols pertaining to emergency response and safety during the lockdown period.
“Poor design of the storage tank, inadequate refrigeration and faulty cooling system, absence of circulation and mixing systems, inadequate measures and parameters, poor safety protocol, inadequate safety awareness – were found to be reasons that led to the accident,” said Mr Neerabh Prasad.
RVSN Murthy, the Assistant Commissioner of Police and the Investigating Officer said the accused were booked under culpable homicide not amounting to murder. They were also booked under Indian Penal Code’s Sections 278 (Making atmosphere noxious to health), 284 (Negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance), 285 (Negligent conduct with respect to fire or combustible matter), 337 (Causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (Causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and with Section 34 (Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention).
In addition to LG Polymers’ Managing Director and CEO, Sunkey Jeong and Technical Director D.S. Kim, the other accused arrested on Tuesday are LG Polymers’ and Additional Director (Operations) P.P. Chandra Mohan Rao, HOD, SMH (in-charge) K. Srinivas Kiran Kumar, Team leader production Raju Satyanarayana, Engineers C. Chandrasekhar, K. Gowri Sankara Nagendra Ramu, K. Chakrapani, operator Muddu Rajesh, night duty officer (operations) P. Balaji, In-charge GPPS S. Atchyut and Safety Officer in night shift K. Venkata Narasimha Ramesh Patnaik.
Besides the suspension of Vishakhapatnam Zonal Environmental engineer R Lakshmi Narayana, Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) also suspended Prasada Rao, Regional Environmental Engineer, for reflecting complete negligence and allowing the import and processing of large volumes of styrene without checking environmental and safety challenges.
On the same day, State Tourism Minister, Muttamsetti Srinivasa Rao inaugurated Dr YSR health clinic in the city wherein the incident of vapour leak from LG Polymer took place. This clinic would be operational for 24 hours and would have one lady medical officer, three staff nurses, among others under the supervision of the District Medical and Health Department.
It would provide medication for all the conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory illness, skin diseases, etc. Antenatal examinations would also be performed at the clinic.
LG polymers India private limited was incorporated in 1996 at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. The recent situation of LG polymers leakage that claimed 12 lives and affected hundreds of others due to inhalation of toxic gas that leaked from the factory during the early hours of 7th May 2020. The leak happened as the plant was being prepared to reopen for the first time since 24th March, when India went into lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus. The incident has put the spotlight on the government, which has been criticised for lax regulation, and India’s poor record in this matter.