India NLC power plant hit by second fatal explosion in two months

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Accidents and fires are fairly common at Indian factories, where safety standards are often disregarded [File: AP]

By Aljazeera for Lolwe digital

The government-run NLC power plant in Tamil Nadu state’s Cuddalore district suffers second blast in two months.

A blast at a power plant in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district has killed at least six people, an official from the state-run company and local police said, the second deadly boiler explosion in two months.

“Six people died on the spot,” said S Latha, inspector at a local police station in Neyveli, adding that the incident in May killed five and injured three at the plant run by lignite miner and electricity generator NLC.

The incident occurred at unit V of NLC Power Plant II, a company official said, adding that the unit was under shutdown when the mishap happened. The accident in May occurred in unit VI of the same company.

“The boiler was not in operation. We are investigating the incident. There was an explosion followed by a fire that injured the workers and contractual labourers,” company spokesman Guru Swaminathan told DPA news.

The explosion injured 17 people, 16 of whom have been sent to a private hospital in the state capital of Chennai for treatment, while one person is being treated at a local hospital in Neyveli, a company official said.

According to local media outlet The Hindu, 11 were critically injured, with burns to more than 40 percent of their bodies.

“Pained to hear about the blast in Neyveli power plant boiler in Tamil Nadu,” India’s Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi said in a tweet on Wednesday.

At least three people die, and more than 46 are injured each day in industrial accidents in India, government data for the three years ending 2016 show.

NLC has a power generation capacity of more than 6,000 megawatts. The company employs 26,000 people, including 14,000 contractual workers.

The state of Tamil Nadu, where the NLC India plant is located, is the third-worst state in the country to be a worker, the data showed, and is preceded by other top industrial states such as Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Accidents and fires are fairly common at Indian factories, where safety standards are often disregarded.

On Tuesday, two workers were killed and four more were hospitalised after a gas leak at a pharmaceutical plant in India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

In May, at least 12 people were killed by a massive gas leak at a chemical plant run by South Korean firm LG Chem in Andhra Pradesh state.