Bhushan mishap: Two BSL units sealed, Labour Secy transferred

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Bhubaneswar: Even as the Odisha government on Thursday cleared the uncertainty over the Bhushan plant blast toll by declaring that only two workers had died on the fateful day and 29 others were injured, in a major bureaucratic reshuffle, Labour Secretary CTM Suguna has been transferred as Commissioner, Consolidation.

Official sources said, Raj Kumar Sharma, Principal Secretary, Forest & Environment department has been given additional charge of Labour department.

Meanwhile, the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) on Thursday sealed the 256 MW power plant and a cold rolling mill of Bhushan Steel Limited (BSL) at Meramundali in Dhenkanal district after it found that these units were functioning illegally.

A four-member team of OSPCB arrived at the plant this morning and sealed the two units of BSL in the presence of senior police officers and district administration.

Issuing a closure notice on Wednesday, the board had asked the district administration to depute officials and security personnel to assist it in the process. The pollution watchdog had also ordered to shut down the company’s two boilers under construction in the plant premises.

During an inspection on Monday, an OSPCB team found BSL was running the plant “clandestinely”.

“We found BSL was producing power by running one of the three boilers of the power plant. The power plant was set up to support blast furnace-II. It had installed two more boilers, but was not running them,” a senior scientist of OSPCB said.

The company had commissioned the power plant without prior consent of the pollution control board, official sources said. Even though BSL had applied before the board in May for operation of the power plant, the company’s plea was summarily rejected, sources added.

Earlier this year, OSPCB had sealed the 300 MW coal-fired power plant of Bhushan Energy Ltd (BEL), promoted by BSL, for violating norms related to water and air pollution control.

In a related development, the district administration convened a press meet and informed the newsmen that on the fateful day as many as 974 workers were working at the blast furnace. They said, two workers have lost their lives and 29 others were injured in the November 13 blast furnace explosion while others are safe. Labour commissioner, director of Factories and Boilers, district collector and Superintendent of Police were present at the press meet.

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