National Crisis Management Committee Takes Stock of the Vizag Gas Leak Tragedy

The National Crisis Management Committee under the chairmanship of Cabinet Secretary, Shri Rajiv Gauba met for the second consecutive day; to review the situation arising out of the Vizag gas leak that took place in Vishakhapatnam on May 7.

The Vizag Gas Leak Incident

The Visakhapatnam gas leak, also called as the Vizag gas leak, was an industrial accident that occurred at the LG Polymers chemical plant in R. R. Venkatapuram village near Gopalapatnam on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India, on the early morning of 7 May 2020. The leaked gas spread over a radius of about 3 kilometres affecting the nearby areas and villages. 13 deaths were recorded, and more than 1,000 people were affected.

The Ground Situation

Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh, Nilam Sawhney informed the Committee on the ground situation; as well as the actions taken by them after the incident, to evacuate people and to contain the leakage in the plant. She informed the committee that they were making all efforts to prevent any further emissions from the tanks. The committee discussed issues related to the long-term impact of the gas on health and the quality of water and air.

Assessment By The Cabinet Secretary

The Cabinet Secretary assessed the current situation, preparedness, rescue and relief operations. He directed provisions for all assistance, as required to the state, to control the situation. They will conduct consultations between national and international experts on Chemical Safety and Industrial processes and the officials on-site through video conferencing, and a team of such experts will fly in as per requirements. Also, similar consultations between medical experts are arranged on the medical protocol followed. Moreover, the Committee ensured assistance when required through sending of inhibitor chemicals.

Secretaries of Environment Ministries, Deputy Generals of National Disaster Relief Force and Health Services, Director of AIIMS and officers from Ministry of Home Affairs and Central Pollution Control Board were present in the meeting. The Chief Secretary of Andhra Pradesh along with officials of the Vishakhapatnam district also joined the meeting; which took place through video conferencing.

Notably, the National Green Tribunal and the National Human Rights Commission have also taken suo moto actions on this incident. While the NGT constituted a committee and fined the owner of the plant, LG Polymers for 50 Crores; NHRC issued notices and directed submission of a report on the matter.

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