The court also ordered that the directors of the company cannot leave the country without the court’s permission.

Gas leaks from an LG Polymer plant in VisakhapatnamFile photo: PTI
news Vizag gas leak Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 08:58

The Vizag police on Monday sealed the premises of the LG Polymers plant, following the High Court’s interim orders. The court, which had taken suo motu cognisance of the case, also issued directions on Friday that the directors of the company should not leave the country without the court’s permission.

Police told ToI that the main gate of the factory has been locked, and a few police personnel have been posted to guard the premises. TNIE reported that the police were only allowing five people inside, to maintain the temperature of the styrene tank.

The styrene gas leak from LG Polymers on May 7 killed twelve people, and hundreds of people fell sick and were hospitalised. Animal and plant life in the villages close to the factory were also badly affected.

The court has sought explanation from respondents over the fact that LG Polymers was operating without valid Environmental Clearance (EC) from the Centre. The court also noted various other discrepancies, including failure of the factory’s alarm system on the night of the leak, failure of the refrigeration system in the factory, and failure to train the people living in neighbouring areas in evacuation procedures.

Although the state and central governments have already filed counter affidavits, the court noted that they have not commented on these issues. It also sought an explanation for transporting styrene monomer to South Korea in a rush.

The incident is being investigated by a five-member committee constituted by the National Green Tribunal (NGT), as well as a High Power Committee constituted by the state government. The High Power Committee, headed by Neerabh Kumar Prasad, Special Chief Secretary (Environment and Forest), has reportedly roped in four more members from various central agencies for their technical expertise.

The Andhra Pradesh government has announced compensation of Rs 1 crore to the families of those who lost their lives in the incident. Different compensation amounts have also been announced and provided to the others affected, depending on their condition.

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