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After Vizag Gas Leak, Centre Asks Chemical Firms to Exercise Caution When Reopening Plants

File photo of Union Minister DV Sadananda Gowda.

File photo of Union Minister DV Sadananda Gowda.

The minister said his officers are coordinating with the Andhra Pradesh government.

New Delhi: After deadly styrene gas leak in Visakhapatnam, Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda on Thursday urged all public and private chemical makers to exercise caution and care while reopening their plants.

Union Environment Ministry and State Pollution Control Boards have also issued separate directives to all companies to take extreme precaution while restarting their units that remained suspended due to the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country, he said.

There was a gas leak from LG Polymers plant at Visakhapatnam in the early hours on Thursday, causing 10 deaths and hundreds hospitalised.

"LG Polymers does not come under direct control of our ministry. However, we have asked all public and private chemicals manufacturers to exercise caution and care while reopening their plants," Gowda said.

The minister said his officers are coordinating with the Andhra Pradesh government.

He further said LG Polymers, a multinational chemical company, had kept its unit ready for reopening after one and half month of lockdown. The unit started leaking at around 3.40 am on Thursday due to pressure.

"The toxic gas leak has affected both people and animals. Around 850 people have been hospitalised," Gowda said, adding that measures have been taken to control the situation at the plant site and final updates are awaited.

At present, Indian chemicals market size is about USD 163 billion, which is only three per cent of the global chemical industry of USD 5 trillion, as per the official data.