The Andhra Pradesh government has informed the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that an ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore each has been paid to the families of the 12 people who died in the styrene gas leak tragedy in Visakhapatnam last May, officials said on Friday. The NHRC had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports about the death of several persons and over 5,000 others falling sick due to leakage of styrene gas leaked from LG Polymer factory on May 7, 2020, they said.
"The NHRC has accepted the action taken by the concerned authorities and the ex gratia of Rs 1 crore each paid to the families of the 12 people who died in the tragic incident," the rights panel said in a statement.
"The government of Andhra Pradesh has informed the Commission that 485 people were paid Rs 1 lakh each, who were hospitalised for two-three days. It has also informed that criminal proceedings were initiated against the 12 accused," the statement said.
An estimated 800 tonnes of styrene gas escaped into the surroundings of the LG polymers at Vizag in Andhra Pradesh, killing 12 people, 22 animals and affecting over 3,000 people who were exposed to the gas leak from the factory.
A report by the committee headed by Justice (Retd) Seshasayana Reddy constituted by the National Green Tribunal in New Delhi found safety lapses by the factory. The report also pinned blame on the Department of Industries, Factories and Boilers for safety lapses, and with the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority (VUDA) for approving residential layouts in close proximity with the hazardous factory.
The leakage of the gas had reportedly affected people within a radius of about 3 km. Many people were reported to be lying on roads while some had complained of difficulty in breathing and rashes on their bodies.
(With PTI Inputs)