Hundreds of locals from RR Venkatapuram and adjoining villages gathered outside LG Polymers India in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam city on Saturday demanding immediate closure of the plant, PTI reported. At least 11 people, including a child, died on Thursday after toxic gas leaked from a chemical plant of the company. The villagers also demanded the arrest of those responsible.
The locals tried to barge into the premises and shouted slogans demanding that the plant be moved elsewhere, according to the Hindustan Times. Meanwhile, ambulances carrying the bodies of the victims from King George Hospital were passing by. The protestors stopped the ambulances and laid out the bodies in front of the company gate.
A villager told the Hindustan Times that it has been two days since the management was booked, but no action has been taken against the company officials yet. “We shall not allow the company to run under any circumstances,” he said. The police in Andhra Pradesh had registered a case on Thursday against LG Polymers.
The police had to resort to baton-charging to disperse the crowd. They also detained many protestors and took them to Gopalapatnam police station. “The situation has now been brought under control,” City Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar Meena told News18. The police also took the bodies to Venkatapuram village for cremation.
The protest coincided with the visit of Director General of Police Gautam Sawang to the plant. He said the styrene gas leakage was under complete control and it will be neutralised by Saturday evening. “We are not here to protect anybody,” Sawang said. “The investigation has begun and we shall take action based on the investigation. There is no need for the villagers to get agitated.”
Meanwhile, Tourism Minister M Srinivasa Rao and other YSR Congress party leaders tried convincing the villagers. They said the government was making all efforts to ensure the plant is moved out. Rao said the government has also appointed a high-powered committee to investigate the accident and take stern action against the company.
The gas leak occurred at the LG Polymers Plant at RR Venkatapuram near Naiduthota area between 2.30 am and 3 am and reportedly spread over a radius of about 3 km, affecting at least five villages. Hundreds of residents were evacuated from nearby areas as the gas leak spread. RR Venkatapuram Village Revenue Officer MV Subba Rao had filed the complaint against the company.