BREAKING NEWS

Two months after Gas Leak Tragedy, 12 Officials from LG Polymers Arrested

In what can be called a heavily botched up probe and incident, Andhra Pradesh police arrested the Managing Director, four directors of LG Polymers along with 7 others company officials, following the leak of styrene gas that killed 12 people and affected over 500 people around in R. Venkatapuram village near Vizag on May 7th. 
 
The high-powered committee, appointed by the state government, had submitted an elaborate report and recommended that cases be filed against all the directors and managers of the company and that the plant should be closed down or shifted out of R. Venkatapuram. The State Pollution Control Board also suspended three of its officials for “gross negligence.”
 
The Investigation disclosed that the incident at M6 styrene storage tank took place due to the negligence of these persons who also have knowledge that their acts were likely to cause death, said a member of the Committee, adding that the case is still under investigation as reports from various departments have to be obtained and witnesses are yet to be examined. 
 
It also pointed out the oversight on part of different government departments, primarily the Directorate of Factories, that contributed to the tragedy. While arrests have finally been made, it is still surprising that such incidents continue to happen despite regulations and rules already being in place. 
 
Not only is there a gross neglect and lack of regular inspections from the government’s side but also a play of vested interests which allow faulty industries to violate regulatory norms despite being guilty. 
 
Despite India witnessing the Bhopal Gas tragedy, it has still not learnt its lessons. The Vizag gas leak incident is itself a testimony to how our governments neglect people’s safety and give industries approvals, without assessing the impact of their actions.  
 
Another angle to this Vizag gas leak incident that still remains mysterious is about Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s meeting with LG Polymers officials soon after the incident at Vizag Airport. As a CM, he was supposed to visit the village and visit victims of the gas leak. But, the video grab of his meeting with officials indicates the nexus between political class and business when such tragedies happen. 
 
It is clear that no one wants to point fingers at the ruling party for this. But, that doesn’t mean they can let this go just because it brought their government a bad PR. However, the arrests do not mean anything for the families of those who lost their loved ones or those affected by it. 
 
Let us hope that this incident will teach officials a lesson to ensure people's safety, locate industries in non-residential locations, have constant checks and regulatory norms in place so that such tragedies can be averted in the future. 

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