Industrial mishaps continue to dog Bhushan plant

Bhubaneswar: There seems no let-up in the industrial mishaps which have been haunting the Bhushan Steel plant in Kantabania of Dhenkanal district for quite some time. While a worker was critically injured after falling into an iron bunker on Friday, three similar incidents have left as many as four dead and several injured in less than a span of a fortnight.

On January 6, three labourers were killed in the plant's phase-II area and three others injured due to LPG gas cylinder explosion. The labourer who was shifted in a critical condition to a private hospital in Cuttack breathed his last during treatment.

In another accident inside the plant on January 7, two workers were injured.

Shockingly, the spate continued the next day as an iron beam fell on the workers in the plant's phase-II area, leaving three of them injured. The condition of the injured labourers, being treated at SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack are reportedly stable.

According to plant sources, accidents have claimed lives of at least 42 workers in the past four years. While 15 labourers died in 2009, the figures stood at 12, 9 and 6 in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively.

Workers at the plant who held responsible the plant authorities for the series of mishaps leading to injuries and deaths alleged that they were not taking measures regarding safety of workers.  

“We have long been asking the authorities to provide safety helmets and shoes to all the workers which is prerequisite as per law. But our demand have fallen on deaf ears,” said Sukanta Jena, a labourer at the plant.

Raising concern over the mishaps, state labour minister Bijayshree Routray on January 15 had said, “Audit on plant safety would be conducted soon with the help of independent bodies. If required we’ll ask to shut down plant operations if any glaring violations are observed during audit.”

During the review meeting at the secretariat, the minister talking tough on the incident said, “It is definitely the fault of the company for which these mishaps are happening in a regular interval.”

The minister had asked the plant authorities to report on safety measures taken by the company within a week.