Blast in Bagalkote distillery kills 4

There would have been more casualties if the distillery was located in a residential area, said sources.

Hubballi: At least four people were killed and three severely injured on Sunday in an explosion at a distillery belonging to former BJP minister Murugesh Nirani and his brother Sangamesh Nirani, in Bagalkote district.

The blast at the distillery unit in Kulali village of Mudhol taluk in Bagalkote was so intense that the three-storied building, in which the distillery was functioning, was reduced to rubble with pieces of iron and concrete scattered in a radius of two hundred metres surrounding the plant.

The three workers, who suffered serious injuries, were admitted to a private hospital in Mudhol. The deceased were identified as engineer Sharana Basappa Totad (34) of Kalaburgi, Jagadish Pattanashetti (32) of Navalagi village, Nagappa Dombar (38) of Kulali village and Shivanand Hosamath (40) from Yadalli village.

Sources said the incident occurred due to a boiler blast at an effluent treatment plant following the outflow of excess methane gas and blockage of the safety wall. The Niranis have been running the sugar factory and distillery unit which employs more than 30 workers since the last twenty years.

There would have been more casualties if the distillery was located in a residential area, said sources.

Meanwhile, expressing anger against the distillery management, local residents and environmentalists contended that they had violated environmental norms and blamed pollution board officials for allowing the unit to run for two years despite not having a valid license. Alleging that effluents from the factory had caused pollution in a two kilometre radius around it, they claimed that this had caused several health problems among the villagers. “We have filed a petition before the National Green Tribunal(NGT) urging it to stop the pollution. The underground water surrounding the village has become contaminated due to effluents released from the factory and people are forced to drink water from the borewells which has high chemical content”, asserted a resident, Anil Nishani. Some villagers even alleged that the distillery was not working properly as a leakage was reported in the last few months with even basic safety equipment like helmets and jackets not provided to the workers.

Belagavi northern range IGP H.S. Revanna and Bagalkote superintendent of police C.B. Rishyant visited the blast site and said action will be initiated after obtaining a report from technical experts to know the cause of the incident.

Next Story