Vizag Gas Leak: AP Govt gives more time to High Power Committee on Report Submission

A High Power Committee constituted to investigate the gas leak at LG Polymers plant Visakhapatnam has been given an extension till June 22 to submit its report, said a statement by the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Four additional members have been nominated to the committee which was set up on May 8.
The committee, headed by Special Chief Secretary EFS&T Neerabh Kumar Prasad, will take stock of the recovery steps taken by LG Polymers in response to the gas leak. The four technical experts from various Union Ministries nominated to the committee are - SK Nayak, Director General, Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET); Bharat Kumar Sharma, Regional Director, CPCB; R.K Elangovan, Director General, DGFASLI; and Anjan Ray, Director, IIP Dehradun.
While the extension comes at a time when there is a need for a stringent punishment and immediate action on the company management along with those who have granted permission, violation of norms during lockdown, many believe that this does not bode well for the state. “There have been deaths and many fell ill. The long-term effects of it are still unknown. But, the government seems to keep delaying the report,” people from nearby villages said.
The High-power committee recently met a select group of political party representatives and affected villagers at the municipal corporation building in Visakhapatnam. Protesting against the committee, Jana Sena Party workers staged a dharna as they were not allowed to meet the committee. It is also alleged that the committee did not meet members from all political parties to hear diverse views and instead stuck to only ruling party leaders. 
The development came days after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) Panel submitted a report pointing out 5 major lapses of LG management responsible for the gas leak. The NGT report stated that there was insufficient tertiary Butyl Catechol concentration in a styrene tank, which is used as an inhibitor to avoid polymerisation at a lower temperature. 
It has further said that no monitoring system was at a place for dissolved oxygen, and the tank had no provision of monitoring temperatures at the top layers of the storage. The report said that the refrigeration system was not being operated for 24 hours, and pointed out the ‘gross human failure and negligence’ of the person-in-charge of the plant. 
Styrene gas leak from the LG Polymers unit located at RR Venkatapuram village in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh caused the death of more than a dozen people on May 7th and also highlighted the government’s callousness in dealing with it stringently. 

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