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Bhilai Steel Plant fire toll at 12; CEO sent on leave, 2 execs suspended

R Krishna Das/Raipur 10 Oct 18 | 06:58 PM

A view of fire caused due to a blast in Bhilai Steel Plant of state-owned SAIL, in Durg

Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) M Ravi was removed from work, while two other senior officials were placed under suspension, in connection with Tuesday's fire accident that left 12 people dead. 

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During the scheduled maintenance, fire broke out in the pipeline supplying gas to the coke oven. In one of the worst tragedies at the plant, which is considered to be the best among Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) entities, 12 people have died, with three succumbing to their injuries on Wednesday.

The eleven injured are undergoing treatment at the Bhilai SAIL hospital. A team of four doctors, who are experts in treating burn injuries, has also reached the hospital. 

"The CEO, M Ravi, has been removed from work, while General Manager (safety) T Pandya Raja and Deputy General Manager (energy) Naveen Kumar have been suspended," Union Steel Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said after visiting the accident site and injured on Wednesday. 

ALSO READ: At least 11 killed, 12 injured at Bhilai Steel Plant blast in Chhattisgarh 

A senior SAIL official said the CEO has been asked to proceed on leave as per the practice to ensure a free and fair probe.

Singh said that besides SAIL's internal committee, which has been asked to submit its report within a week, an external committee under the ministry will also probe the incident. "The steel secretary will set up the committee," the minister said, adding that experts from across the country will be part of the team. 

The Union minister said the families of the deceased employees will get an ex-gratia of Rs 3 million each, while the seriously injured employees will get Rs 1.5 million each. Those left with minor injuries will get Rs 200,000. 

Special permission has been taken from the Election Commission as the model code of conduct was effective in poll-bound Chhattisgarh to disburse compensation to the affected families, he said.  

The families of the deceased will get a cumulative amount under various heads -- from Rs 3.3 million to Rs 9.5 million, he said. The families of the deceased can avail of salary up to the retirement of the employee or a member can get compensatory appointment, he added. 

While the state government's industrial safety department is serving a notice to the plant before taking necessary action, a police case will also be registered against the management. "After receiving the postmortem report, a case under section 304(A) of the Indian Penal Code (causing death by negligence) will be registered," Inspector General of Police (Durg range) G P Singh said.  

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