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No safety recommendations implemented two years after fatal India chemical factory blast

31 July 2018

On May 26, 2016, a blast at the Probase chemical company in Dombivali, Maharashtra state, killed 12 and injured over 200 people. The explosion was caused by sparks from welding work igniting a huge stock of Propargyl chloride being stored on the site. 

Stock image
Stock image

An investigation by DNA India concludes that two years later, and one year since the inquiry committee submitted its report to the Indian government, none of the report’s recommendations to ensure such a disaster is not repeated have yet been implemented.

A District Government inquiry committee submitted its report in July 2017 and made the following recommendations:
* There should be notified area for chemical factories handling, using and storing hazardous and explosive chemicals within a particular industrial area 
* All the existing encroachment in and around Dombivali industrial area to be removed 
* A buffer zone of vacant land, preferably with a tree plantation, shall be maintained in between industrial and residential areas 
* No residential plots shall be allotted in the MIDC area where hazardous, flammable or explosive chemicals are used, handled, stored or transported 
* Set up national chemical centre (NCC) responsible for working on legislation on chemical inventories as well as monitoring their use and storage. Any new chemical shall not be manufactured or imported without a systematic registration process 
* Government to evolve a system of providing information to concerned authorities such as explosives department, pollution control board, Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health, etc., about the supply of hazardous chemicals by dealers/traders to different manufactures in respective areas

The only action taken so far has been payment of compensation to the families of the deceased and hospital bills of the injured. Buildings were damaged up to two kilometres away but so far no residents have been compensated for damage to their properties.

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