Thanam villagers protest by squatting near Pharma City demanding closure of all the polluting units

A major fire ravaged Glochem Industries Limited, an isolated unit at Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City at Parawada, about 50 km here on Thursday.

“Though the fire is not spreading, the chemicals stored at the unit are being allowed to burn for some more time,” District Collector V. Seshadri told The Hindu . Incidentally, this is the fourth fire accident at Pharma City developed by Ramky in less than six months.

The fire is believed to have occurred in one of the five blocks of the unit preparing API and bulk drugs. JNPC CEO Lal Krishna, quoting company officials, said they were yet to ascertain facts on the probable cause of the accident and loss caused to the firm.

None was injured in the mishap. “There is no threat to public safety. Officials have taken position at the spot and the reason for the accident will be probed into in detail later,” Mr. Seshadri said.

On hearing explosions and pungent smell, people from neighbouring Thanam village protested by squatting near Pharma City demanding closure of all the polluting units.

As the chemicals were not amenable to being extinguished with water, they were being allowed to burn out on their own. The fire broke out at about 5:15 p.m. Joint Chief Inspector of Factories D. Chandrasekhar Varma, who visited the fire-ravaged unit, said they would probe the mishap from all angles.

Management blamed

AITUC leader Venkat Rao blamed the management for not initiating pollution control measures. He said the company was closed three months ago for not adhering to emission standards and by exerting pressure on the authorities it was re-opened.

Former sarpanch of Thanam Appa Rao said the authorities should take action against pharma units for their failure to stick to emission norms and not adopting fire safety measures.

“People in the vicinity are living with a Damocles’ sword on their heads due to accidents at JNPC at regular intervals,” he remarked.

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