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Supreme Court allows LG Polymers staff access to Vishakapatnam plant

The LG Polymers plant, situated close to residential areas in Visakhapatnam.

The LG Polymers plant, situated close to residential areas in Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

The Supreme Court on Tuesday allowed 30 staffers of LG Polymers emergency access to the company’s Vishakapatnam factory from where a styrene gas leak killed 11 people and affected another 1000 in the early hours of May 7.

Also read: HC orders seizure of LG Polymers plant

A Bench led by Justice U.U. Lalit directed LG Polymers to provide the District Collector concerned the names of the 28 technical and two administrative personnel who would be able to access the polymer factory at any point of time to undertake safety measures.

This interim arrangement would continue till the Andhra Pradesh High Court considers the issue.

LG Polymers, represented by senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, has highlighted that a complete seizure of the plant and its premises would have a “tremendous adverse consequences and impact”. For one, he said the temperature of the plant cannot go beyond 25° Celsius.

“There would be some serious ill-effects, if by any chance the temperature goes beyond 25° Celsius,” Mr. Rohatgi submitted, while he pressed for the need of an emergency team to maintain plant safety.

Also read: Ryots hit as gas leak damages crop, halts cultivation

He further pointed out that polymer kept in the factory were in various stages of manufacture and their exposure would lead to toxicity.

He also said the factory premises also houses the company’s law and administrative offices. A complete seizure of the acreage would seriously prejudice the company. He also sought permission to remove the products lying in the plants waiting for clearance.

The apex court asked the company to approach the High Court with regard to all these issues. Mr. Rohatgi said one of the applications filed by the company is scheduled to come up before the High Court on May 27.

Also read: Vizag gas leak: LG Polymers moves Supreme Court against Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board

Meanwhile, the High Court, in its previous hearing, has already asked the Centre and the Andhra government to provide the net worth of LG Polymers Pvt Ltd as per the Companies Act.

It has also, more importantly, sought information on how the toxic styrene monomer was allowed to be transported to South Korea despite the registration of a crime in connection with the May 7 leak, the appointment of a probe team and the requirement of a magisterial enquiry.

The High Court had ordered complete seizure of the factory and its premises. It had also barred the company directors from entering the property.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 4:51:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-allows-lg-polymers-staff-access-to-vishakapatnam-plant/article31679025.ece

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