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Pharma unit blast in eastern India kills two, injures five

30 September 2015

Two workers, a pharmacist and his assistant, were burned to death and five others injured after a reactor blast rocked the active pharmaceutical ingredients manufacturing plant of Sainor Life Sciences at the Ramky group's Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma city at Parawada near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, on September 28. One of the injured is in a critical condition with 50% burns.

Stock image
Stock image

According to sources quoted by the Times of India, the blast was so severe that the wall on one side of the building collapsed completely and the entire building was engulfed in thick black smoke within minutes. Six fire tenders took almost two hours to douse the fire.
The 10 reactors on the affected floor make APIs, pellets and intermediates. The pharmacist and his assistant were involved in making the API for antacid drug Omeprazole when the explosion took place.
Vizag inspector of factories P Chinna Rao said his department would register a case against the Sainor Life Sciences management for not obtaining the mandatory no-objection certificate from the department before commencing operations at the unit. Parawada police have also registered a case and initiated investigation.
At least six major fire accidents have been reported at the JNP city complex in the past couple of years. Eight workers were injured in an accident at Vegnesha Pharma in July 2014, and 10 were injured at Glochem the same year.
Subrahmanyam District Collector N. Yuvaraj said that an industrial safety audit team would be set up to check the safety norms being followed at pharmaceutical units located in Pharma City, where there are 54 separate plants.

According to G. Satyanarayana, president of the Pharma City Staff and Workers Union, most of the factories run operations with minimum staff numbers, and the factories do not follow accepted safety and maintenance norms, while the materials used in drug manufacturing are of sub-standard quality.

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