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Indian oil refinery blast toll rises to 18

28 August 2013

THE death toll in an explosion and fire at a state-owned oil refinery in southern India has risen to 18, according to reports on August 29. The fire broke out on August 23 at a refinery owned and operated by Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd in the southern city of Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, after an explosion at a distillery unit where expansion work was taking place.

At least 30 people, most of them contract workers, are being treated for burn injuries. The condition of six is said to be serious.

According to local reports, employees at the refinery staged a protest demanding improved safety measures at the refinery, following the incident. All but one of the dead are contract workers, whilethe single HPCL employee was the manager of the unit where the incident took place.

Federal Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily said an official of the Oil India Safety Directorate had been asked to inquire into the incident and submit a report within 15 days. Local police are also investigating.

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