A first information report into the gas leak incident at LG Polymers plant in Vizag has mentioned the cause of the disaster as “some smoke” and “a bad smell” that endangered life, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The FIR does not mention any LG Polymers official.
At least 11 people, including a child, died on May 7 after toxic gas leaked from the chemical plant of 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. RR Venkatapuram Village Revenue Officer MV Subba Rao had filed the complaint.
The FIR was filed at Gopalapatnam police station at 7 am, almost five hours after the gas leak. The toll mentioned in the FIR is five even though 10 deaths had already been confirmed dead by that time. It also does not mention styrene although police officials had confirmed it by then.
“At about 0330 hrs some smoke came out from the LG Polymers Company, due to the reason the neighbouring villages [were] affected and getting bad smell and the smell is endanger to human life,” it read, according to The Indian Express. “Due to fear, all villagers ran…from the houses. In the incident, 5 persons died and the remaining people were admitted in hospitals as in-patients.”
The FIR was registered under Sections 278 (making atmosphere noxious to health); 284 (negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance), 285 (any act with combustible matter to endanger life), 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others), 304-II (knowledge that the act had likelihood of causing death) of Indian Penal Code.
However, Visakhapatnam Police Commissioner Rajiv Kumar Meena said that even if the FIR does not name any company official, the investigation will look into the role of each person responsible in running the factory. “The high-powered committee and the experts committee are also examining the roles of the senior managers,” he added.
The Andhra Pradesh government has set up a high-level probe committee of five members. They will seek the help of the directors of Indian Institute of Petroleum at Dehradun and Visakhapatnam, and of National Disaster Response Force experts.
None of the top three officials – President and Managing Director of LG Polymers, India, Sunkey Jeong, Technical Advisor Dongoso Kim Diaz and General Manager and Director of Operations PP Chandra Mohan Rao – was present at the factory on the night of the incident. They are yet to comment on the incident or the FIR.
LG Chem sends delegation to India to probe gas leak
LG Polymers is the manufacturing unit in India of South Korean conglomerate LG Chem. On Wednesday, LG Chem said it had sent a delegation to India to investigate the cause of the gas leak, reported Reuters. It added that the eight-member delegation will be led by its petrochemicals business head. The firm said the delegation will speak with the affected residents and meet India government officials.
On May 9, LG Polymers issued a statement offering “condolences and apologies to all who have been affected by the incident.” However, the firm has not yet announced any compensation.