In the early hours of May 7, 2020, styrene gas leaked out of a polyester plant in Vishakapatnam, leading to 12 deaths. Within a few hours, news of two more industrial accidents broke out – another gas leak at a paper mill in Chhattisgarh and a boiler blast at the NLC India Ltd plant in Cuddalore (Tamil Nadu). The spectre of the Bhopal gas disaster, one of the world’s deadliest industrial accidents, loomed up once again.
In a country where industrial safety has always been a matter of concern – despite a plethora of laws and rules to prevent such disasters – the pandemic-induced lockdown might have made matters worse. Industry is rushing to recover lost ground in a period of massive economic slowdown – the question is, has it ignored all safety regulations in its haste? Were these otherwise avoidable industrial accidents the result of throwing all mandatory safety precautions to the wind?
The National Disaster Management Authority has now issued guidelines on restarting industries after the national lockdown. The economy must be pulled back on its feet, but without compromising on industrial safety.
Join us at a discussion on this subject.
Down To Earth information capsule on industrial disasters and industrial safety will be accessible this week on www.downtoearth.org.in
For more details, contact
The CSE Media Resource Centre