Bhushan mishap rocks Odisha House, toll rises to 3

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Bhubaneswar: Even as the Odisha Assembly on Friday witnessed pandemonium over the Bhushan Steel mishap issue and the company’s ‘violation’ of safety norms, the death toll in the steel maker’s blast furnace explosion rose to three with the death of another injured, officials said.
 
The victim, identified as Durga Prasad Hansda, a native of a village under Tiring police station of Mayurbhanj district, was undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Cuttack.
 
Hansda who admitted to the hospital with 60 per cent burn injuries, breathed his last after battling for life for over 16 days, they added.
 
On November 20, another injured Saroj Dehury had succumbed to burn injuries at the same hospital.  
 
The blast furnace explosion has become a political hot potato as Opposition parties are trying to corner the ruling government in the ongoing winter session of Odisha Assembly on charges of showing favours to the company by letting it go scot-free despite laxity in safety measures at the plant.
 
Demanding a CBI probe into the incident, leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh said that the state government officials and local police were working hands in glove with Bhushan authorities.
 
“Why the government is not taking any stern action against the company even if the probe panel from Rourkela steel plant confirmed the accident occurred due to lack of safety measures at the furnace itself,” asked he.
 
Earlier, Union minister of state for labour, K Suresh during his recent tour to Odisha also announced to conduct a probe if the probe being conducted by the state government was found to be unsatisfactory.
 
Two days back the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) has directed Bhushan Steel not to operate the second blast furnace at its Meramandali plant in Dhenkanal district till further notice.
 
“…the company has further received a direction of closure from the state PCB for not starting the operations of Blast Furnace No. 2 again, trial run of which started recently on November 10, 2013, till further direction…,”PTI quoted Bhushan Steel saying in a BSE filing on Thursday.

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