Gross negligence by the management and several safety violations — these are the findings of the government-appointed committee that was assembled to look into the recent edible oil factory incident at Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh, where seven people were killed.
The seven workers, five of whom were tribals, died of asphyxiation after inhaling fumes while cleaning the oil sludge at the bottom of a “giant edible oil storage tank” on 9 February.
The edible oil factory — located in G Ragampeta village of Peddapuram mandal in Kakinada district, Andhra Pradesh — is run by Ambati Subbanna & Company, a firm that has been in business since 1910.
The committee also found that the factory was being run without proper clearances and permissions from the necessary authorities.
Following the deaths, Peddapuram police arrested the owners of the oil factory Singavarapu Viswanath (43), and Singavarapu Raghuram (36), and also the supervisor Akkireddy Srinivas (42).
The Factories Department officials also seized the oil factory.
Unskilled workers used
After the mishap, the Kakinada District Collector Kritika Shukla appointed a six-member committee headed by the Joint Collector S Ilakkiya, and comprising the deputy commissioner of labor, deputy inspector of factories, executive engineer of the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, district industries officer, and the Peddapuram revenue divisional officer, to probe the incident.
The committee recently submitted its report to the government.
జి.రాగంపేటలోని అంబటి సుబ్బన్న ఫాక్టరీలో జరిగిన ఘటనలో మరణించిన 7గురు కార్మికుల కుటుంబాలు ఒక్కక్కరికీ 25 లక్షలు ప్రభుత్వ ఎక్స్ గ్రేషియా,ఫ్యాక్టరీ యాజమాన్యం అందించే మరో 25 లక్షలు పరిహారం కలిపి 50లక్షలు ఆర్థిక సహాయం అందించడం జరుగుతుందని జిల్లా కలెక్టర్ డా.కృతికా శుక్లా తెలిపారు pic.twitter.com/nnx4Gri3Cz
— Collector Kakinada (@CollectorKakin1) February 9, 2023
The committee found that while cleaning the oil sludge at the bottom of a long tank is a specialised job, it was entrusted to those who have joined this line of work only recently and have no skill for the job.
Also Read: Seven die while cleaning edible oil storage tank at Andhra factory
No safety measures taken
While an oxygen cylinder must be carried by workers on their backs when getting into tanks like this one, such arrangements were missing at the spot of the mishap.
The committee also found that sufficient help with ropes that needed to be in place while lowering the workers to the bottom of the tank was also missing.
The deceased have been identified as Kurra Rama Rao, Vecchangi Krishna, Vecchangi Narasimha, Vechangi Sagar, Kurathadu Banjibabu of Paderu, and Kattamuri Jagadeesh and Prasad of the nearby Pulimeru village.
The government later announced an ex gratia of ₹50 lakh each to the families of the deceased — ₹25 lakh to be paid by the government and another ₹25 lakh to be paid by the factory management.