Workers' union seeks probe into RINL accidents

| Updated on: Apr 18, 2011

The Visakha Steel Workers' Union on Monday sought a high-level probe into the series of accidents which occurred in the Visakhapatnam steel plant during the past ten days and sought stern action against those responsible for the incidents. The union staged a protest demonstration in which workers participated in large numbers.

The union leaders, Mr D. Adinarayana (President) and Mr N. Rama Rao, General Secretary, alleged that gross negligence had caused the accidents during the past ten days and the management was only trying to play down the same. No steps are being taken to tighten safety arrangements in the plant, endangering the lives of workers and putting at risk valuable public property, they said.

A fire broke out in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant in the raw material handling unit and three conveyers (No. 5, 6 and 7) were damaged during the early hours of Sunday. No one was injured in the incident and the extent of loss is yet to be assessed. It is estimated that the loss may run into crores. “A major catastrophe was averted due to cutting down of conveyer belt at various places to prevent the spread of the fire,” a senior official said.

The accident occurred while iron ore was being carried to the blast furnace at about 1 a.m. A spark ignited during maintenance work taken up on Saturday may have caused the accident, according to a source. An official said the actual cause would be known only after a probe.

A press release issued by the authorities says that there were enough iron ore reserves for 20 days. The unloading of ore in the ore and flux yard may be affected for a few days due to the accident.

According to Mr P. Trinadha Rao, Honorary President of the Visakhapatnam Steel Plant Employees' Union, the restoration work may take about a month. He said under the impact of fire some structures fell down in the plant. He alleged that accidents were occurring frequently in the steel plant and a high-level investigation should be conducted to affix the responsibility and prevent recurrence.

Sunday's was the third accident in a week. Exactly a week ago, there was a breakdown of slide gate in ladle of caster-II in continuous casting department. This was followed by spillage of 120 tonnes of liquid steel from the ladle of LD converter-3 later in the same week.

Published on April 18, 2011

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