Visakhapatnam: India’s National Green Tribunal (NGT) and the government of Andhra Pradesh have set up a committee each to look into different aspects of Thursday’s leakage of styrene gas from a factory operated by the South Korean company LG Polymers, which led to the death of 12 persons and hospitalisation of hundreds.
The NGT has taken up the case suo motu and indicated it will look at the case under the light of the Sections 14 and 15 of the National Green Tribunal Act 2010. These deal with the treatment of hazardous chemicals and the arrangements mandated to be made to deal with emergencies arising out of it.
Preparatory to this inquiry, the tribunal ordered LG Polymers India to deposit an initial amount of Rs 50 crore with the Visakhapatnam district magistrate.
As part of this line of inquiry, the tribunal has issued notices to the state and central pollution control boards, the administration of Visakhapatnam district and the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change and LG Polymers India to render their aspects of the episode.
The NGT set up a five-member committee to look into matters of interest: the committee will include a judge of the AP High Court B Seshasayana Reddy, a former AU vice-chancellor Prof Ch V Rama Chandra Murthy, and the head of the chemical engineering department of the Andhra University Prof Pulipati King.
The committee will inspect the site to give a report on the causes of accident, the persons and authorities responsible for it, the damage to life, human and non-human, public health; and environment including, water, soil and air.
The committee will also suggest steps to be taken to extend compensation to the victims and restitution of the damaged property and environment, and the cost involved along with remedial measures to prevent recurrence of such disasters.
The AP government too set up its own high-power committee with Neerabh Kumar as chairman. This committtee will study if there are long-term effects of the gas leakage on the surrounding villages. It will recommend proposed action to be taken against the unit. Also, suggestions will be given for all similar industrial plants. It will submit its final recommendations to the state government within one month.