Senior Civil Judge and Lok Adalat Secretary conducted a probe into the oxygen house blast at SMS-II of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.

Senior Civil Judge and Eighth Metropolitan Magistrate (Gajuwaka) M. Rama Devi and Lok Adalat Secretary and Senior Civil Judge K. Surya Rao on Friday conducted a probe into the oxygen house blast at SMS-II of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.

They undertook the probe on the advice of the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) headed by a Supreme Court Judge to the District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) to submit a report on June 13 explosion, in which 12 employees of VSP and private contractors died.

The team went to the SMS-II and examined the blast site. They also took the photographs of the area and interacted with the officials and employees of VSP. During their visit, some of the workers complained of lack of safety measures and lapses in maintenance works due to engagement of contractors and sub-contractors.

RINL Director (Projects) N.S. Rao and others accompanied the team.

High-level panel

A factory inspector also visited the blast site separately. Earlier, Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, before he embarked on a visit to the blast site on Thursday had asked the Director of Factories to investigate into the incident.

After Mr. Reddy and Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma's visit to the city, a decision was taken to constitute high-level committee to go into the accident and recommend measures to prevent recurrence of such accidents.

The committee, to be headed by former SAIL Chairman S.R. Jain, will investigate the incident and submit a report within a month.

The terms of reference include investigating into the incident, ascertain the sequence of events and determine the exact cause of fire, to ascertain whether all the trial runs were conducted as per the requirements and proper safety protocols were followed, to identify the agency/person(s) responsible for the accident and to make specific recommendations, so that this type of incidents do not occur.

 The committee shall comprise of the following members: Dr. Jain, ex-Chairman, SAIL. K.K. Mehrotra, Chairman, MECON and HOD of Mechanical Engineering, IIT, Delhi or Kanpur. The committee can co-opt members as per requirement. The committee shall submit its report within the next 30 days of its constitution.

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