At least 20 workers were injured, eight of them seriously, when the roof of a silo caved in at the Iffco plant here today, police said.

“Many more are feared trapped inside the huge structure. The structure made of steel frame and asbestos has completely collapsed and the rescue operation is on,” the Additional Superintendent of Police (Paradip), Mr Bijay Sahu, said.

Those with serious injuries were shifted to private hospitals at Cuttack while the rest given medical treatment at hospitals nearby, he said.

Fire brigade, ambulance and emergency service personnel from Iffco, Paradip Port Trust and personnel from the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were pressed into the service and rescue operation was continuing in full swing, he said.

Iffco unit’s Executive Director, Mr M.R. Patel, said no casualty has so far been reported after the structure, with a capacity of 45,000 tonnes and located very close to the sea, collapsed suddenly.

Though the structure, meant for storing fertilisers, was properly maintained and its steel frames painted regularly, the accident must have taken place due to rapid corrosion in view of proximity to the sea, he said.

The asbestos structure is about 150 metres long, 50 metres wide and 27 metre high and it completely crumbled, the ASP said adding medical teams from IFFCO as well as PPT, PPL, Essar and government agencies have been engaged to provide emergency treatment to the injured.

(This article was published on February 20, 2012)
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