No proper information about shifting of the injured persons to various hospitals
Relatives of the 39 HPCL blast victims were a confused lot. Most did not have any information about where their kin were shifted for treatment and they waited outside the Naval Hospital INHS Kalyani, where they were initially taken.
A. Venkata Ramana, who was working at a height at the accident spot, came to Seven Hills Hospitals on the lookout for his injured colleagues. “I and another contract worker were working at a height of about 15 m at the cooling tower. One structure was erected and another was supposed to have been placed above it,” he said recalling the horrifying tragedy.
“It was around 4.30 p.m. We looked below and saw fire erupt from the pipes, connected to the cooling towers. We noticed people running helter-skelter and within no time the fire spread. We managed to escape and run to safety,” said Ramana, who was still in a dazed condition.
“Of the six victims -- A. Appa Rao, Subhas Majhi (Odisha), K. Ramana, K. Srinivas, Imtiaz and P. Venkata Rao -- admitted at our hospital, four have suffered over 70 per cent burns and are in a critical condition. Imtiaz and Venkata Rao suffered between 30 and 40 per cent burns,” Medical Superintendent of Seven Hills Hospitals M. Dinakar said.
K. Tata Rao (60), another worker who suffered 60 per cent burns, is undergoing treatment at Manipal Super Speciality Hospital near Zilla Parishad. His son K. Ramesh, a private employee, said: “We got information about the fire around 5 p.m. and rushed to the plant but we were not allowed inside. After sometime, we learnt that some of the injured were already shifted to the Naval Hospital INHS Kalyani, located just opposite the Main Gate of HPCL and went there.”
“After sometime, the hospital authorities released a list of 29 names of the injured persons, who were being shifted to different hospitals in the city. On enquiry, we learnt that my father was being shifted here and we rushed to this hospital on our motorcycle,” he said.
“The HPCL officials and contractors didn’t turn up at the hospital so far,” said another relative Syamala Rao.
“Six HPCL victims have been admitted to our hospital and all of them are in a critical condition. We suspect that one of the workers has sustained an abdominal injury. We are monitoring the situation but nothing can be said before 72 hours,” Medical Superintendent of Manipal Hospitals S. Srinivas said.
“I got the first call from the HPCL around 5.15 p.m. and we immediately rushed our ambulance,” said Hospital Manager Ashok Kumar Patnaik.
The names of the six persons undergoing treatment at the Old Care Hospital (Ram Nagar) are: Murari Pradhan (30), A. Appala Raju (21), Sangu Sanjai Rao (40), Thota Rao Khalasi (40), K. Shankar Rao (40) and Ramana Bondapalli (40). The 10 persons undergoing treatment at New Care Hospital (Opp. KGH) are: S. Somaiah (50), M. V. Ramana (45), Asith Mandan (20), Anant (21), P. Srinu (23), S, Mannan, Krishna Chandra, Y. Venkata Satya Rao, G. Varun, and M. Srinivas.
Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry D. Purandeswari expressed deep shock and sorrow over the blast in HPCL.
She obtained first hand information from Collector in charge Praveen Kumar, Executive Director of HPCL V.V.R. Narsimham and asked them to take immediate action and extend all help to the injured. She also spoke to authorities at INS Kalinga and the KGH Superintendent about the treatment being given.
She conveyed her condolences to the next of the kin of the dead.
Ms. Purandeswari discussed the issue with Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily and requested him to take action for treatment and relief and compensation to the families of the dead.
Ganta for probe
Minister for Investment and Infrastructure Ganta Srinivasa Rao expressed grief over the incident and wanted the officials of the State Government departments concerned to probe the incident.
Navy in action
Acting with alacrity on receiving information of a rampaging fire at the HPCL premises, personnel from the Eastern Naval Command under the guidance of the Command NBC and Fire Fighting Officer rendered necessary fire-fighting assistance at the site.
Three fire tenders and about 35 personnel from the Navy operated in tandem with the local teams to ensure that the flames were doused speedily.