‘Villagers need periodic health checks for a year’

G Naga Sridhar Hyderabad | Updated on May 11, 2020 Published on May 11, 2020

LG Polymers plant in Visakhapatnam   -  REUTERS

Avoid using vegetables, milk, groundwater from villages for few days, cautions panel

The ill-effects of styrene vapour leak from LG Polymers India Pvt Ltd’s (LGPI) plant in Visakhapatnam on the victims will be ‘long-lasting’ and they will need periodic health check-ups for a year.

The is one of the key findings of the expert panel consisting of members from the Council for Industrial and Scientific Research (CSIR) - National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), which studied the impact of the gas leak, according to sources.

The leak from LGPI’s plant in RR Venkatapuram, Visakhaptnam on Thursday resulted in 12 deaths and hospitalisation of over 1,000.

Presence of styrene

The panel found traces of styrene in the air in the vicinity of the plant. In some homes, the chemical was present to a ‘significant’ extent. It cautioned against the use of vegetables, ground water and milk from the five villages located near the plant until further directions. Even the cattle should not be fed with the grass grown in the region, the panel added.

The government has asked the villagers to return to their homes from this evening as sanitisation of their homes was completed. Few ministers and senior officials are also likely to stay put in the affected villages to give confidence to the people.

The ex-gratia to the families of the deceased has been paid on Monday. The officials and village volunteers will go to the homes of the victims to personally hand over the compensation.

Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had earlier announced ₹1 crore each as compensation to the kin of those who have been killed. Victims undergoing treatment on ventilator would get ₹10 lakh each. Those hospitalised, but not on ventilator, would receive ₹1 lakh each. Every villager will also get ₹10,000 each.

Fiat to LG Polymers

Meanwhile, the State government has directed LGPI to shift the stored styrene to South Korea and said it cannot be stored in the plant.

According to Visakhaptnam district administration, the process of shifting 13,000 tonnes of styrene stored in five tanks in the plant has already commenced. The styrene leak in the tank which lead to the mishap was polymerised completely on Monday and ‘there is no further danger.’

A senior functionary in the plant told BusinessLine that shifting styrene will practically lead to ‘non-functioning’ of the plant. However, when contacted, the company did not respond to a query on the impact of the shift.

Published on May 11, 2020

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