AP: Locals demand closure of chemical plant after deathly fire

Hyderabad: Following a ghastly fire in a chemical manufacturing plant on April 13, Residents of Eluru’s Akkireddygudem and nearby villages held a huge protest on Monday demanding the permanent closure of the plant. The fire, which was caused by an overheated reactor, led to the death of six workers while many others sustained injuries.

Hundreds of residents from the Akkireddygudem village, Surepalli, and Gogulampadu along with locals of nearby Munusuru Mandal held a dharna (sit-in) outside the Porus Laboratories Private Limited demanding that the plant be shut. The protest was followed by a public meeting with government officials.

Earlier on Monday morning, a government team inspected the plant. It comprised of the Eluru joint collector, sub-collectors of Eluru and Nujuveedu, as well as officials from the state pollution control board, Andhra Pradesh Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited (APEPDCL), factories department, and groundwater department.

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The team later conducted a public hearing where the villagers repeated their demands. Locals complained that the plant affected them in many ways. They said that the water pollution caused by the plant caused them and their livestock to develop health problems, along with losses in agriculture, which affects their livelihood. The locals presented samples of polluted water to the officials.

Andhra Pradesh pollution control board has ordered the closure of the factory. The board found that the unit caught fire due to the explosion of a rector while the workers were manufacturing 4-Nitro -N-methyl phtalimide. It was allegedly caused by a power failure and malfunction in the backup system.

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