As the Andhra Pradesh government constituted a fivemember high-powered committee, headed by special chief secretary Neerab Kumar Prasad, to probe Thursday’s poisonous gas leakage from a Visakhapatnam chemical plant that claimed 12 lives, state industries minister Mekapati Gautam Reddy, who visited the accident site, said it might take another 48 hours to neutralise Styrene gas at the LG Polymers plant. He, however, emphasised that there was no need to panic as experts from the field are doing their best to neutralise the gas in the tank. “Stern action will be taken against those found guilty for the accident after the inquiry report is presented and ask people not to believe in rumours. It might take 48 hours to neutralize the gas. The government has only been a facilitator for industries and now it has taken up the task of a safety audit of 86 industries in the state,” he added. With reference to the gas leak, he said it occurred during maintenance and that production was not started during lockdown.
Minister Alla Nani said the government was totally involved in the relief and rehabilitation measures as per the instructions of Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy. The 1,500 people in the five villages in the vicinity of LG Polymers plant were evacuated and rehabilitated on a war-footing soon after the news of the gas leakage was received. He said 554 victims were shifted to hospitals out of whom, 128 have completely recovered. While 305 people, including 52 infants, are being treated at the KGH, 121 people being treated at private hospitals who are said to be out of danger.
“Nobody is on ventilator support. The government would provide complete medical support to all of them,” he added. The minister said nobody would be allowed into the affected villages till medical experts say so and people have to be thoroughly alert about the situation. At a review meeting in the morning, the chief minister directed the officials to identify hazardous factories in and around Visakhapatnam located in densely populated areas. He asked for a comprehensive roadmap to make Visakhapatnam a risk-free city by shifting hazardous industries to places far away from habitations. With agency inputs