Mumbai

Boisar factory blast: cause of mishap yet to be ascertained

Aftermath: NDRF personnel carry out rescue operations at the sight of the blast at an under-construction pharmaceutical company in Boisar on Sunday.

Aftermath: NDRF personnel carry out rescue operations at the sight of the blast at an under-construction pharmaceutical company in Boisar on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhari

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24 hours later, two eyewitnesses who informed police missing; death toll touches eight

The death toll in the explosion at a chemical factory in Palghar district rose to eight on Sunday after the body of a missing girl was recovered from the debris at the site, officials said.

The blast occurred on Saturday evening at an under-construction pharmaceutical factory in Kolwade village, with the immediate toll being estimated at eight. However, officials retracted their statements later in the night and said only six bodies had been found.

During debris clearing operations on Sunday morning, the body of Trinath Dasari (40) and a trapped teenager with a faint pulse were found. The girl was identified as Khushi Surendra Yadav, who had been missing since the mishap. “We recovered the body of the missing girl from the debris around 1.30 p.m. She was 13-14 years old,” Superintendent of Police Gaurav Singh said. Khushi was declared dead in the hospital.

The six found dead on Saturday were identified as Iliyas Bashir Ansari (45), Nishu Rahul Singh (26), Mayuri Vashishth Singh (46), Golu Surendra Yadav (19 ), Rajmati Devi Surendra Yadav (40) and Mohan Ingle (45). Khushi was the daughter of Rajmati Devi.

Meanwhile, 24 hours after the incident, authorities said they were unable to point out what had caused the boiler explosion as the key people were dead or injured. The police said the key eyewitnesses Gokul and Deepchandra, who alerted them about the mishap, could not to be found anywhere.

“What exactly happened at the industry is still a question. Eight people died in this blast and seven were injured,” inspector Kishore Jagtap, MIDC police, said, adding that the statement of Sugriva, a carpenter employed at the site, had been recorded.

Palghar, 09-01-2020: A collapsed structure of chemical factory seen after chemical reactor blast at Tarapur MIDC in Palghar District of Maharashtra. Eight people were declared dead, two people is injured and two people were still missing after and explosion, NDRF's recovered two bodies from the rubble early morning hours on Sunday. Photo Aadesh Choudhari.

Palghar, 09-01-2020: A collapsed structure of chemical factory seen after chemical reactor blast at Tarapur MIDC in Palghar District of Maharashtra. Eight people were declared dead, two people is injured and two people were still missing after and explosion, NDRF's recovered two bodies from the rubble early morning hours on Sunday. Photo Aadesh Choudhari.   | Photo Credit: Aadesh Choudhari

The owner of the plant, Natwarbhai Patel, was among seven others who were injured in the incident, disaster control cell chief Vivekananda Kadam said. “Work on clearing the debris at the blast site is under way and those injured are undergoing treatment at various hospitals,” Mr. Kadam said.

Mr. Patel, whose stomach was ripped open in the blast was said to be critical. He was first admitted to Thunga Hospital in Boisar but later transferred to Wockhardt Hospital, Umrao, due to the severity of his injuries. Two of the others were discharged later on Sunday. Four continue to be under observation at the ICU at Thunga Hospital.

Around 7 p.m. on Saturday, an explosion was heard from M/s ANK Pharma Pvt Limited (earlier known as Tara Nitrate) during boiler testing at MIDC in Boisar, located over 100 km from Mumbai, officials earlier said.

The blast was so huge that it was heard within a 15-km radius, and window panes of some houses in the surrounding area shattered, they said. The under-construction plant building collapsed after the explosion and two other chemical units located in the vicinity also suffered damages, Mr. Kadam said.

A team of the National Disaster Response Force was also called for rescue operations on Saturday. District Guardian Minister Dada Bhuse inspected the blast site at night. Later talking to reporters, he said as per preliminary reports, the plant had permission from the authorities concerned to carry out testing of machineries.

“However, district health and safety officials will visit the site and carry out an inspection. Based on their report, the police will take further action,” he said.

“In view of several chemical units located in Boisar MIDC, we have to now seriously think of taking steps to prevent such incidents in future,” Mr. Bhuse said.

The minister said he would hold a meeting with all stakeholders in the coming days to come up with some preventive measures.

“We would seek guidance and suggestions from experts in this field. Periodic inspections of these plants will be conducted to come up with safety measures,” Mr. Bhuse said.

Earlier, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had announced an assistance of ₹5 lakh each for the kin of the deceased.

(With PTI inputs)

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 8:12:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/boisar-factory-blast-cause-of-mishap-yet-to-be-ascertained/article30553259.ece

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