M A I N   N E W S

3 die in NFL plant blast
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Nangal, March 20
Three persons were killed and one sustained serious burns in a blast at the ammonia plant of National Fertilisers Limited here today. The Ropar Deputy Commissioner has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the accident.

The incidence took place at around 11:40 am, when an explosion reverberated in the factory premises due to bursting of a boiler. Three people, including two engineers and a labour, died on the spot.

Eyewitnesses said the impact of explosion and pressure of the gas was so great that the victims were thrown high in the air. Glass of the control room were shattered into pieces.

The NFL authorities have banned the entry of outsiders, including the cops, and declared emergency in the plant.

An spokesperson for the company said the explosion occurred in the shift conversion section of the plant. “The saturator tower fell and some pipelines were found detached,” he stated.

The ammonia plant and other allied plants on the factory premises were immediately shut down. Total system was isolated and depressurised. The authorities have refused to divulge details of the damage.

The deceased have been identified as mechanical manager Deepak Chhabra (47), shift engineer (production) Mahinder Anand (52) and Jarnail Singh (49).

Deepak is survived by wife Neeru Chhabra and two children while Mahinder is survived by wife Saroj Anand, two daughters and a son.

Engineer Umesh Kumar suffered 50 per cent burns while trying to help in rescue operations. He has been referred to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana.

Deputy Commissioner Priyank Bharti reached spot after 1 pm and ordered Nangal SDM Lakhmir Singh to conduct an inquiry. Lakhmir Singh said preliminary inquiry would be submitted by tomorrow after taking the statements. Detailed technical inquiry would take some time. 

Total Recall

n In June 2003, six persons were killed and over 30 were injured in a series of three blasts resulting in a major fire in the pharamceutical giant Ranbaxy’s plant in Industrial Area

n In October 2004 another employee of Ranbaxy Laboratories died and two helpers were injured in a major fire that took place at the bulk drug plant of the company 






NFL tragedy
Ropar admn not informed in time
Megha Mann
Tribune News Service

Nangal, March 20
While the boiler at ammonia plant burst at around 11:40 am today, district administration Ropar was informed after 40 to 50 minutes of the incidence.

Confirming this, deputy commissioner Priyank Bharti said that even area SDM Lakhmir Singh was not informed immediately after the incidence.

“As per the protocol, the NFL authorities should have informed us within minutes after the incidence. But it took at least 40 to 50 minutes for the news to reach us. Fortunately, there was no ammonia leakage. Had it been a gas leakage, more damage could have been caused and informing us untimely could have added to chaos,” he observed.

However, official spokesperson NFL Naya Nangal claimed that the SDM and DSP were informed within 15 minutes of tragedy.Sources said that injured Umesh Kumar’s timely action of switching off main gas connection helped in saving many lives. Had the ammonia spread around, more losses of life and property would have happened.

The plant, where tragedy struck, was to be closed on Monday for 25 days maintenance practice. Annual target of NFL for urea production was 4. 78 lac tonnes and NFL had already attained 4.73 lac tonnes production.Daily production of ammonia at the plant is 900 tonnes, while that of urea is 1450 tonnes. NFL spokesperson said that company would meet its target with the help of other units. The unit has been shut down three days before the scheduled time due to accident.

Nangal MLA Rana KP Singh too reached the spot. He held the NFL management responsible for this tragedy and demanded a high level probe. He said that the fire fighting equipments at factory were not up-to-date. SSP L K Yadav asked people not to panic as the accident was result of some technical failure.



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