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Vizag gas leak: Angry residents protest outside LG Polymers, demand closure of chemical plant

Vizag gas leak: Angry residents protest outside LG Polymers, demand closure of chemical plant

Two days after 11 people died of gas leakage at the LG Polymers plant in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam, residents of the affected villages held a demonstration outside the factory Saturday, demanding that the government shut down the plant or shift it elsewhere.

Families of three of the deceased persons brought the bodies which were handed over to them after post-mortem and kept them outside the factory gates for a few minutes, demanding action against the factory managers and the company.

Several youths also tried to jump the gates and enter the factory. The protesters left after police intervened and minister M Srinivasa Rao assured them that action would be taken against the factory after a probe is completed.

AP Director General of Police D Goutam Sawang, NDRF officials and others were inside the factory to check on the measures taken to stop the leak when the protesters converged outside the factory.

"The gas leak has been contained and the situation is under total control now," the DGP said. "More technical teams from petroleum and chemical industry will also arrive today to inspect. The leakage and the chemical reaction has been stopped and there is nothing of concern now. I interacted with NDRF's technical experts and scientists also.

While the leak has been plugged, experts have advised people of the five villages surrounding the factory to remain at relief camps for 48 hours as a precautionary measure. This is the protocol,'' he said. The DGP said that the probe committee will meet the experts in a day or two and start the investigation as to how and why the incident happened.

Meanwhile, LG Polymers issued an apology earlier in the day. In a statement, the company said "LG Polymers India would like to express sincere condolences and apologies to all who have been affected by this incident. We would like to assure everyone that the company is committed to work closely with the authorities in India to investigate the cause of the incident, prevent recurrence in the future, and secure the foundation for care and treatment. Our initial investigations suggest that the cause of the incident is prima facie by the leaking vapor from the Styrene Monomer storage tank near the general purpose poly styrene factory.

We are happy to confirm that the status-quo at the plant is brought under control this morning. While focusing on stabilising the plant, we assure you that we are doing our best to extend all possible support to ensure people and their families who have been affected by this incident are taken care of. Our teams are working day and night with the government to assess the impact of the damage caused and create concrete measures to deliver an effective care package that can be implemented immediately.

A special task force has been set up to help victims and families to resolve any issues and provide every assistance to the bereaved families. All families will be contacted shortly. This team has responsibility to provide medical supplises, household goods, and emotional management and psychological stability to all the victims. We will also actively develop and promote mid-tolong term support programmes that can contribute to the local communities."

Over 50 victims were discharged today from King George Hospital and other private hospitals. Officials said that as a precautionary measure they were not discharging children who were affected.

(Inputs and image from indianexpress.com)

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