One dead in Ankleshwar factory blast

Second industrial accident in Gujarat in as many weeks

By Rajat Ghai
Published: Thursday 11 June 2020
The blast happened between 2 and 3 am at the unit of Hemani Industries Pvt Ltd. Photo: Salim Patel12jav.net

One person has died and five others have been injured in a blast at a factory in Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC)’s chemical estate in Ankleshwar, Gujarat on June 11, 2020.

The blast happened at the unit of Hemani Industries Ltd, a company headquartered in Bharuch that manufactures agricultural chemicals, insecticide sprayers and pesticides, according to sources. The company has units at both Ankleshwar as well as Dahej, also in Bharuch district.

The explosion happened between 2 and 3 am. Of the five workers who are injured, three are said to be in a critical condition and the death toll is expected to rise, sources said.

This is the second industrial accident in Bharuch district in less than a fortnight. On June 3, a blast occurred at the plant of Yashasvi Rasayan Pvt Ltd in the port of Dahej. Ten people have died so far in that accident.

On the morning of May 7, 2020, toxic styrene gas leaked from the unit of LG Polymers Pvt Ltd in RR Venkatapuram village, Visakhapatnam. Till now, 11 people have died in the accident.

In the evening of the same day, two boilers exploded at NLC India Ltd’s thermal power station at Neyveli, Tamil Nadu, injuring eight people.

The previous day, on May 6, another gas leak accident had taken place at a paper mill in Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, after which seven workers had to be hospitalised.

“The Gujarat Pollution Control Board and the director of health and safety were expected to take care of emergencies when the COVID-19 lockdown was imposed. They were to expected to main a 24X7 vigil. Instead, both were assigned other tasks. Even now, both are not functioning fully,” Rohit Prajapati, a Gujarat-based environmental activist told Down To Earth.

“Nobody has a clue as to which chemical is lying in the factories. It was ad hoc situation on March 25 and it is the same now,” he added.

Prajapati said that disaster management authorities in India only understood situations floods and cyclones and to some extent, earthquakes. “Even Gujarat, a state that has a plethora of chemical industries does not know how to tackle a chemical emergency,” he said.

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