Chennai: Two people died and three were severely injured when hot fly ash from a boiler fell on them at a thermal plant in Gummidipoondi off Chennai on Friday. The workers, who were under contract with GSH India Pvt Ltd, a UK-based multinational company, opened a hopper door to clean the fly-ash electrostatic precipitator at Chennai Ferrous Industries as part of the maintenance work they were engaged in at the plant.
They were reportedly told to attend to a ‘block’ in the Electro Static Precipitator (ESP) through which the ash from the burnt coal in the boiler of the 10 mw captive plant is let out. “When they opened the door of the ESP, the hot ash fell on them,” said a company official.
The police identified the deceased as Prabhu, 29, of Kumbakonam and Lakshmanan, 22, of Tirunelveli. Suresh, 29 of Naidupeta, Andhra Pradesh, Venkatesalu, 33, of Gummidipoondi and Kumarapandi, 26, of Theni, the injured, were first taken to Kilpauk Medical College (KMC), and later to Apollo Hospital.
Co-workers and relatives of the deceased alleged that none of the officials from the company had contacted them about awarding compensation. Balaji, administrative manager at GSH, promised that statutory compensation for the deceased would be provided and that the company would also look at providing employment to members of the families of the deceased.
Meanwhile, Gummudipoondi police said a case had been registered under Section 304 (a) of the IPC. Investigations are on to check if the workers were exposed to faulty machinery that may have caused the accident.
Family cries over loss of breadwinner
The sole breadwinner of their family is no more. Oblivious to the scenes happening around her, 25-year-old, Prabha, sister of Prabhu, one of the victims of the Gummidipoondi fire accident, is calm. She is speech and hearing impaired. “He remained unmarried because he wanted to get his sister married,” a relative said.
Hailing from Alavanthipuram village near Swamimalai in Kumbakonam, Prabhu’s parents Sekar and Vembu were dependent on Prabhu’s earnings. “Since he was 17 years old, he has been working hard for the family,” said Vembu. They are hoping that they could avail some compensation from the company which would help see their family through and get their daughter married.
Prabhu’s father is a daily wage worker and takes up work under the MNREGA scheme while his mother has health problems. The family and the co-workers agitated were calmed after the assurance of compensation, when an official from GSH along with its legal advisor signed on a stamp paper agreeing to pay the victim’s family a sum of Rs 50 lakh. The kin of other victim Lakhmanan was also promised the same compensation, according to sources.