Sources said the Director of Factories and the Department of Fire Services have been instructed by the State Government to review the preparedness of the industries to tackle an exigency.

Industrial units in North Andhra region are being brought under scanner for fire safety norms following a huge fire and explosion at Nagarjuna Agrichem Limited near Srikakulam on Saturday.

The Nagarjuna accident occurred after June 13 blast at oxygen pressure reducing station of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant in which 19 employees were killed.

Sources said the Director of Factories and the Department of Fire Services have been instructed by the State Government to review the preparedness of the industries to tackle an exigency.

When fire engulfed the fifth floor of the pesticide plant of Nagarjuna Agrichem Limited, the company had no hydraulic crane to undertake fire fighting operation.

Delayed arrival

It took more than five hours for the first hydraulic crane to arrive the accident spot from Visakhapatnam.

Neither the company pressed the siren nor did they make any announcement on imminent danger in the neighbourhood on the public address system after the explosiion.

“They had a safety mechanism but after detecting problem in adjusting with the atmospheric pressure while preparing a formulation they could not do anything,” admitted a senior official of Srikakulam.

No factory worker was present at the time of accident at the pesticide unit as it happened during tea-break. “Otherwise, there would have been heavy casualty,” pointed out Srikakulam Collector G. Venkatram Reddy.

In view of two major accidents in succession, the government wants to make a thorough inspection of safety pre-cautions being followed at various industrial units. The major industrial accident that occurred in the region was at Visakha Refinery of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited following vapour cloud explosion in 1997.

“Most industries are ignoring safety aspects and depending more on contractors and sub-contractors to undertake maintenance works in critical areas. This should stop immediately,” said Ch. Narsinga Rao, honorary president of Steel Plant Employees’ Union.

More In: Visakhapatnam