Death toll mounts in Vizag steel plant blast

 The death toll in Wednesday's explosion in Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP) rose to 11 with two of the injured succumbing Thursday.

Two workers who were critically injured died at a private hospital in Visakhapatnam, about 600 km from here.

Initially the death toll was put at 15 but the steel plant authorities have confirmed 11 deaths so far.
The accident took place when an oxygen tanker exploded Steel Melting Shop (SMS) II, wing of the public sector undertaking.

Eight persons are undergoing treatment at hospitals. The injured include VSP General Manager (projects) D.S. Kalsi.

Ten of the victims have so far been identified. The dead include two deputy general managers of construction wing.

The plant employees stayed away from work Thursday as a mark of respectfor those who died in the blast and also to lodge their protest over the alleged negligence by the management leading to frequent mishaps.

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy expressed shock over the mishap. He would be visiting the hospitals in Visakhapatnam to call on the injured.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) state secretary B.V. Raghavulu demanded high-level probe into the disaster. He sought compensation for the families of the dead and for the injured.

This is said to be the worst disaster in the 40-year-long history of  VSP, also known as Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL).

This is the third fire accident in less than two months and the fourth this year.

Two workers engaged by a private company were burnt alive in a blast in the recently commissioned blast furnace-III on May 1.

In another fire mishap on May 22 a conveyor belt carrying raw material to new blast furnace completely melted, stalling the production and causing a property loss of about Rs. one crore. There were no casualties.

The blast furnace III was erected as part of the plan to expand plant capacity to 6.3 million tonnes.

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