The National Human Rights Commission has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the death of eight persons and over five thousand others falling sick due to leakage of styrene gas in Vizag District of the State of Andhra Pradesh early morning today. The leakage of the gas has reportedly affected people within a radius of about 3 kilometers. Many people could be seen lying on roads while some complained of difficulty in breathing and rashes on their bodies.
The Commission has observed that though prima-facie, as of now, there are no reports regarding human error or negligence but the fact that so far at least 8 innocent citizens have lost their lives and thousands have fallen sick, is indeed a serious issue of violation of human rights. Right to life of the victims has been grossly violated. At a time when the human lives across the country are at stake due to spread of COVID-19 virus and everyone is forced to stay indoor, the gruesome tragedy has come as bolt from the blue for the people.
Accordingly, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter including status of the rescue operation, medical treatment provided to the people fallen sick and relief and rehabilitation provided by the state authorities to the affected families.
A notice has also been issued to the Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh to inform within four weeks about registration of FIRs in the matter and status of the investigation being conducted.
The Commission also considered it appropriate to bring the matter to the notice of the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs and has asked through its Secretary to examine whether the norms laid down under relevant provisions of the law are being implemented at the particular industrial unit and to submit a report to the Commission. Responses from all the these authorities are expected within four weeks.
As per early reports in the media, the incident has occurred at a chemical plant at LG Polymers Industry at RR Venkatapuram near Naiduthota area of the district around 3.00 AM today on 7th May,2020. The unit manufactures polystyrene and its co-polymers. An evacuation drive has reportedly been started by the police authorities and the District Collector is monitoring the situation. The NDRF and SDRF teams are also deployed in the area as mentioned in the news report.
National Human Rights Commission
[Press Release dt. 07-05-2020]