Death toll in Bhilai Steel Plant gas leak rises to 7; PM expresses grief

The death toll in the Sail Bhilai Steel Plant gas leak incident rose to seven on Friday, after the recovery of body of a contractor.

Zee Media Bureau/Deepak Nagpal

Raipur: The death toll in the Sail Bhilai Steel Plant gas leak incident rose to seven on Friday, after the recovery of body of a contractor.

The death toll rose even as the state government ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.

"A magisterial inquiry, headed by the Durg Additional District Magistrate, has been ordered into yesterday`s incident," Durg Collector R Sangeetha said today.

Later today, Union Steel Minister Narendra Singh Tomar is due to visit the steel plant.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also expressed grief over the tragedy and offered condolences.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh also tweeted after speaking to the PM:

Among the seven killed at the steel plant located in Chhattisgarh`s Durg district include two Deputy General Managers.

The incident happened at 6:30 pm yesterday when poisonous gas leaked from blast furnace-GCP due to breakdown in a water pump.

Initially, as many as 34 people were taken to the nearby Jawaharlal Nehru Hospital and Research Centre in Sector-9, Bhilai, after they fell ill upon inhaling the poisonous gas, the Durg Collector said.

Five of them, including two DGM rank officials, died during treatment while the body of a worker, Vikas Verma, was found after de-watering the pump house where the mishap occurred, she added.

The gas leak affected people working nearby in the plant premises, a statement issued by the plant said.

Inspector General of Police (Durg Range) Pradeep Gupta said CISF personnel were among the injured, apart from workers and officials of the public sector plant.

"Plant Management is providing all possible care and support and efforts are on for an early liquidation from the breakdown," the statement by the plant said. A high-level inquiry would be conducted to ascertain the cause of the breakdown and the management will extend all the support to the affected persons, the statement added.

The CM yesterday expressed grief over the incident and said best medical care will be provided to those affected in the incident.

Meanwhile, Sail Chairman CS Verma reached the plant this morning to review the situation.

Set up with the help of erstwhile USSR in 1955, Bhilai Steel Plant is India`s first and main producer of steel rails, as well as a major producer of wide steel plates and other steel products.

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