One more worker, who suffered burns in the major fire in the plant on November 13, dies

The Odisha State Pollution Control Board on Wednesday ordered closure of the power plant and steel rolling mill of the controversial Bhushan Steel Limited even as another worker, who had sustained burns in a major fire in the plant last week, died at a private hospital in Cuttack.

The steel plant of Bhushan Steel Limited at Meramundali in Dhenkanal district neither had environment clearance nor consent of operation from the Pollution Control Board to commission its Blast Furnace II, where a major fire broke out on November 13.

“We have asked Bhushan Steel Ltd. to shut down the Blast Furnace II, along with its power plant and a rolling mill, for which it did not have necessary permission,” said Lalit Tiwari, Member Secretary of OSPCB.

While the company had claimed that only one labourer was killed and 15 were injured on the day the blast took place during commissioning of the blast furnace, the administration had so far not been able to find out the exact number of workers who were killed and injured in the incident.

Ajay Dehury, a 22-year-old worker from Angul district, admitted to a private hospital in Cuttack with over 70 per cent burns, died on Wednesday, Health Minister Damodar Rout told reporters.

Condition stable

The condition of another worker, Durga Charan Hansda, with about 50 per cent burns, was stable, Dr. Rout added. Interestingly, the Pollution Control Board ordered closure of the power plant and the rolling mill in the company with immediate effect a day after Union Minister of State for Labour K. Suresh took strong exception to the blast and sought a detailed report.

As per the Minister’s direction, a team of officials visited the blast site of the steel plant on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was shielding the owner of the steel plant, who had flouted each and every norm.

The party demanded that the State government declare the actual figure of casualties and adequate compensation to the victims, and ensure proper regulation of labour laws in the plant.