Death toll in Bhilai Steel Plant blast climbs to 11

Our Bureaus New Delhi/Kolkata | Updated on October 10, 2018 Published on October 10, 2018

Steel Ministry removes the CEO

Two senior officials of SAIL’s Bhilai steel plant were suspended and the Chief Executive Officer of the plant, M Ravi, was ‘divested of his duties’ a day after a blast that claimed 12 lives.

An official statement said that the Steel Ministry is in the process of setting up an external committee of experts and orders for the same will be issued soon.

A SAIL statement said that the blast took place on Monday at around 10:30 am during a planned maintenance job on gasline. The team consisted of expert workers who had an extensive experience of the safety and maintenance protocol of such jobs.

The Union Steel Minister, Birender Singh, announced an ex-gratia payment of ₹ 30 lakh to family of each of the deceased employees, ₹ 15 lakh to the seriously injured employees and ₹ 2 lakh to employees with minor injuries.

A Steel Ministry statement said that the families of the deceased will receive statutory compensation ranging from ₹ 33 lakh to ₹ 90 lakh in addition to the compensation announced by the Minister.

SAIL has also been directed to provide employment to the next of kin who died in the accident and free education to be given to children up to graduation level.

Singh said that apart from the internal enquiry committee constituted by SAIL that was announced on Monday, another high-level enquiry committee comprising of experts from across the country to enquire into the actual cause of the incident would be constituted by the Ministry of Steel.

Meanwhile, the death toll in Bhilai Steel Plant (BSP) fire climbed to 11, with at least two more in very critical condition. This is the second fatal accident at the plant in four years.

According to a company release, at least, nine persons were killed and 14 injured in the fire accident on Tuesday. The death toll may rise as many are critically injured sustaining very high degree of burn injury.  

Unofficial estimates available from the plant sources suggest 14 are dead. All the victims are regular SAIL employees mostly from energy and fire department.

This is the second major disaster at Bhilai Steel Plant in four years. In 2014, six persons died – including two senior officials – and over 30 were injured, in a gas leak.

“There was a fire in a gas pipe line of coke oven battery complex no 11 during a scheduled maintenance job,” SAIL had said on Tuesday. The accident took place at 10.30 am. There was not much information about the reason behind the fire accident. According to eyewitnesses, there were two consecutive blasts.

The coke oven area is always susceptible to fire as it deals with inflammables. Apparently, the maintenance was carried out while the plant was in operation. As is anticipated by sources outside SAIL, safety precautions were breached during some wielding job which triggered the fire.

SAIL has ensured treatment for the injured at the Bhillai Steel Plant hospital. The fire is also controlled.Located in Durg district of Chhattisgarh, Bhilai produces long variety of steel products. This includes rails and structurals.


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Published on October 10, 2018
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