Visakhapatnam gas leak: NHRC seeks detailed report from Centre, AP govt

THE National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken suo motu cognizance of media reports about the death of eleven 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.

It has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh calling for a detailed report in the matter including the status of the rescue operation, the medical treatment provided to the people fallen sick and relief and rehabilitation provided by the state authorities to the affected families.

Further, a notice has also been issued to the Director-General of Police, Andhra Pradesh to inform the commission within four weeks about registration of FIRs in the matter and status of the investigation being conducted.

NHRC 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”.

It has also decided 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 these authorities are expected within four weeks, said NHRC.

The gas leak occurred at the LG Polymers Plant at RR Venkatapuram near Naiduthota area between 2.30 am and 3 am and reportedly spread over a radius of about 3 km, affecting at least five villages. As per reports, fire engines, the police and ambulances reached the area to control the situation. The National Disaster Response Force was also called in. There were varying reports on how many people were injured.