New Delhi: The National Green Tribunal on Friday (May 8) issued notices to the Centre, LG Polymers India Pvt, Central Pollution Control Board and others in the Visakhapatnam chemical factory gas leak incident in which 11 people were killed and almost thousand exposed to it. The tribunal in its notice directed LG Polymers India Pvt to submit Rs 50 crore an interim amount for damage to life.
A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also formed a five-member Committee comprising Justice B Seshasayana Reddy to probe the incident and submit a report before May 18. The committee comprises former AP High Court judge Justice B Seshasayana Reddy; V Rama Chandra Murthy, Former Vice-Chancellor, Andhra University, Vizag; Professor Pulipati King, Head of Chemical Engineering Department, Andhra University; CPCB Member Secretary, CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology Director, and head of NEERI in Vizag.
"Having regard to the prima facie material regarding the extent of damage to life, public health and environment, we direct LG Polymers India Pvt Limited to forthwith deposit an initial amount of Rs 50 crore, with the District Magistrate, Vishakhapatnam, which will abide by further orders of this Tribunal. The amount is being fixed having regard to the financial worth of the company and the extent of the damage caused," PTI quoted the bench as saying.
The NGT issued notices to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, L G Polymers India, Andhra Pradesh State Pollution Control Board, Central Pollution Control Board, Vishakhapatnam District Magistrate and sought their response before May 18, the next date of hearing.
The NGT directed Vishakhapatnam DM and regional office of State Pollution Control Board to provide logistic support to the committee to enable their fact-finding and reporting.
The committee may visit and inspect the site at the earliest and give its report before May 18 by email and the site visit may be initially conducted by members available locally in consideration with outside members online, the NGT said. The committee has to submit report on sequence of events, causes of failure and persons and authorities responsible, extent of damage to life among others.
A major early morning chemical leak from a polymer plant near Visakhapatnam impacted villages in a five-km radius, leaving many people dead and scores of citizens suffering from breathlessness and other problems, as the AP government ordered a probe into the issue.
The leak was noticed by company staff who were reportedly inspecting machines to restart the factory and raised an alarm. Hours after the styrene gas leak around 2.30 am on Thursday from the multinational L G Polymers Plant at R R Venkatapuram village near here, scores of people could be seen lying unconscious on sidewalks, near ditches and on the road, raising fears of a major industrial disaster.