‘Mixing of methane with oxygen caused factory blast’

‘Mixing of methane with oxygen caused factory blast’

Labour Minister Venkataramanappa visits employees injured in the factory incident in Mudhol, at the district hospital in Bagalkot on Monday. DH photo

The boiler blast at the effluent treatment plant of the distilleries unit of Nirani Sugars in Mudhol happened as methane gas got mixed with oxygen, it is now suspected.

G B Rajagopal, director of the department of factories and boilers, said prima facie, this appeared to be the cause of the incident. A clear picture would emerge after the probe was completed, he DH on Monday.

He said the explosion occurred when a new boiler was installed and it was switched on for trials. Rajagopal said he had directed the officials id permission was obtained for installing the new boiler.

The district administration has set up a probe committee headed by Ramesh Rathod, deputy director of the department, Belagavi, he said. 

The Jamakhandi deputy superintendent of police, labour department assistant commissioner and assistant director of the factories division are members of the probe team. Deputy Commissioner K G Shantaram said he had directed for submission of the report by Tuesday.

The DC said no one was found in the debris of the building that collapsed following the incident. The injured are recovering at two hospitals in Bagalkot.

Labour Minister Venkataramanappa and district incharge and Health Minister Shivanand Patil visited the accident spot and conducted an inspection.

The government is giving a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased. The labour minister said he had told Murugesh Nirani, the factory owner, to provide an additional Rs 5 lakh each, to the kin of each of the victims.