Toll in the HPCL Visakh Refinery blast increased to 24 with one patient succumbing to the injuries on Tuesday.

Contract worker Murari Pradhan, 30, who was undergoing treatment at the Old Care Hospital, died while battling for life with severe burns since August 23. HPCL general managers A.S.V. Ramanan (HR), G.S. Prasad Sarma (Technical) and Lakshman Venugopal (Projects) told reporters that the condition of three patients undergoing treatment in the city and one in Mumbai was critical.

Of the 16 patients admitted to various hospitals, seven were under care at National Burns Centre in Mumbai.

Asked to comment on the visit of HPCL Chairman-cum-Managing Director S. Roy Choudhury to the refinery on Monday, they said he came to review the situation after the August 23 blast in the cooling tower.

To a question whether they had initiated any action against persons responsible for heavy surcharge of hydrocarbons leading to the blast, they said action would be taken after submission of preliminary report by the Hirak Dutta Committee set up by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and the Special Investigation Team formed by the HPCL Headquarters.

Meanwhile, the shifting of the debris to the designated site was in progress. HPCL management has so far deposited Rs.4.6 crore with the district administration for payment of Rs.20 lakh per family of the deceased workers.