Andhra Pradesh High Court has ordered the state government to seize premises of LG Polymers chemical plant located at Visakhapatnam from where the leakage of the styrene chemical occurred, leaving 12 persons dead and injuring hundreds early this month.
The court also restrained the directors of the company from leaving the country without its permission. It ordered authorities not to release their surrendered passports.
The two-member bench of High Court, comprising justices Jitendra Kumar Maheshwari and Lalitha Kenneganti, also ordered not to allow any person to enter into the factory premises including the directors of the company. Besides, the court directed not to allow the shifting of the company's assets and machinery.
The accident occurred some 14 km away from the east coast city of Visakhapatnam, in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh, at a plant operated by LG Polymers where the gas leaked on May 7 killing 12 people and leaving over 800 hospitalised. As per reports, gas started leaking in the early hours of May 7 when the workers were preparing for the reopening of the plant.
According to forensic experts, the leakage at the Vizag gas leak site occurred due to human error. The experts who probed the leak at LG Polymers reportedly said that the styrene gas leak happened due to human error and negligence during the coronavirus lockdown. The experts added that TBC or tertiary butyl catechol must be added with styrene to prevent self-polymerisation, which was not done during the lockdown period. The investigators stated that whatever TBC was left was rendered ineffective. Once the self-polymerisation started, a chemical reaction followed shooting up the temperature to around 150 degrees centigrade.
By Chitranjan Kumar