3 labourers dead, 4 ill after toxic gas leaks at Durgapur steel plant

kolkata: Three contractual labourers of Durgapur Steel Plant (DSP) were killed and four others had fallen sick after inhaling toxic carbon monoxide gas that leaked while a repairing work was going on at the Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) unit on Friday morning.

The laborers were initially rushed to the DSP hospital from where they were shifted to a private hospital for better treatment.

"A high-level inquiry committee has also been immediately constituted to investigate the incident and ascertain the root cause so that such incidents can be avoided in future. The management is deeply saddened by the unfortunate incident and is extending all possible assistance to the affected families," read an official statement issued by DSP.

According to sources, on Friday around 11:30 am, repair work of the converter 2 in the BOF was going on.

Three contractual labourers were working inside the unit while toxic carbon monoxide gas started leaking.

The labourers did not even get the chance to alert others for help.

A labourer, who was outside the converter, tried to look for three labourers working inside, as they were late.

While trying to enter the converter, he saw the trio lying unconscious and was not responding to his calls.

Suspecting danger, he immediately alerted others. Officials of DSP were also informed.

Meanwhile, a few other labourers tried to rescue the unconscious co-workers from the converter.

But they also fell sick due to inhalation of the toxic gas. It had been alleged that despite the DSP authority and Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) being informed, they came late for the rescue operation.

After almost an hour, CISF personnel equipped with gas masks and other equipment rescued the labourers and rushed them to DSP hospital.

A contractual labourer, identified as Sintu Yadav (27), was declared brought dead there.

The other two labourers— identified as Santosh Chowhan (27) and Swajan Chowhan (48)— who were critical died at the private hospital where they were shifted for better treatment.

Four other labourers, who had fallen sick while trying to rescue the trio, are still undergoing treatment at the private hospital.

After the incident, the labourers alleged that the DSP authority is very much indifferent about the safety and security of the labourers.

However, DSP authority has assured the labourers that necessary inquiry will be carried out to find out the cause of the incident. Also, assurance of financial help to the family members of the deceased was given from the authority.

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