New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognizance  about the deaths  of eleven  persons and over 1,000 others falling sick due to leakage of styrene gas in Vizag district, Andhra Pradesh, early on Thursday morning.

The Commission has observed that “though prima facie, as of now, there are no reports regarding human error or negligence but the fact that so far, at least 8 innocent citizens have lost their lives and thousands have fallen sick, is indeed a serious issue of violation of human rights.”

The leakage of the gas has reportedly affected people within a radius of 3 km. Many people could be seen lying on roads while some complained of difficulty in breathing and rashes on their bodies.

“The right to life of the victims has been grossly violated. At a time when the human lives across the country are at stake due to spread of Covid-19 and everyone is forced to stay indoors, the gruesome tragedy has come as a bolt from the blue.” the Commission said.

Accordingly, the Commission has issued a notice to the Chief Secretary, Government of Andhra Pradesh, calling for a “detailed report in the matter, including status of the rescue operation, medical treatment provided to the people who had fallen sick, relief and rehabilitation provided by the state authorities to the affected families.”

A notice has also been issued to the Director General of Police, Andhra Pradesh, to inform within four weeks about registration of FIRs in the matter and status of the investigation being conducted.

The Commission also asked the Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs to examine whether the norms laid down under relevant provisions of the law are being implemented at the LG plant and to submit a report to it. Responses from all these authorities are expected within four weeks, the Commission said.

The gas leakage occurred at a chemical plant of LG Polymers at RR Venkatapuram near Naiduthota area ofVizag district around 3 am on May 7, 2020.

The unit manufactures polystyrene and its co-polymers. An evacuation drive has been taken up by the state government. The NDRF and SDRF teams are also deployed in the area

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