IA senior official of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of VSP, told The Hindu that an internal inquiry would be conducted to fix responsibility on those found guilty for safety lapse if any.

The high-level committee being constituted by the Ministry of Steel under the chairmanship of former head of Steel Authority of India Limited S.R. Jain will begin probe into the blast at Visakhapatnam Steel Plant on Wednesday.

As the VSP management is trying to restore normality after the confidence level of the workforce got hit following the massive explosion in the oxygen pressure reducing station in the newly-built Steel Melt Shop-II, probe into the incident have already started by multiple agencies. The blast claimed lives of 16 employees so far.

A senior official of Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited, the corporate entity of VSP, told The Hindu that an internal inquiry would be conducted to fix responsibility on those found guilty for safety lapse if any.

There is no official word on the cause of the accident which occurred in a tiny room located in one corner of the SMS-II compound.

Sub-standard pipeline

Employees including those working SMS Department allege the use of sub-standard pipeline leading to pressure problem in production of hot metal. This subsequently believed to have caused the blast and converted the oxygen pressure room into a death chamber.

Prior to the SMS accident, the conveyer at the Sinter Plant got burnt on May 21 and two workers died in another blast at the Blast Furnace-3 on May 1. The Director of Factories, who was asked by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, has already launched the investigation into the June 13 incident. One of the top officials of the department has recommended safety audit by third party, which VSP Chairman-cum-Managing Director A.P. Choudhary agreed to conduct at the earliest.

On the advice of National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) headed by a Supreme Court Judge, the District Legal Service Authority (DLSA) conducted a preliminary probe into the incident. Two senior civil judges from the city went to the blast site, took photographs and interacted with the officials to find out some details about the accident.

The Jain Committee will investigate into the incident to ascertain the sequence of events and determine the exact cause of blast. According to the terms of reference, it will ascertain whether all the trial runs were conducted as per the requirements and proper safety protocols were followed. It has been given one month to submit a report.

“We are very happy that on our suggestion, the management has agreed to inspect all the machinery in the expansion project by third party,” said Steel Plant Employees Union deputy general secretary V. Dhanaraju.

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