A tragic turn to routine maintenance at Steel Authority of India Ltd.’s (SAIL) Bhilai Steel Plant resulted when a gas pipeline that fed into Coke Oven Battery Complex No. 11 caught fire. There were 24 people engaged in the work at the time of the explosion, around 10:30am this morning. However, nine of the workers were killed on the spot, while another 14 were rushed to a nearby hospital to receive medical treatment. A statement from the company confirmed this, as it stated, “So far, 9 persons have lost their lives and 14 are undergoing medical treatment. All resources have been mobilized to provide adequate care to the injure.”
The Bhilai Steel Plant of India’s largest maker of steel and steel products, produces the rails for Indian Railways, and is the only plant to produce them in the country. It also produces various other kinds of steel products for industrial consumption, such as steel plates, structural steel and wire rods. The plant produces the specialized 260 meter tracks, as well. In June 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had dedicated the recently expanded plant, with its modernized production facilities, to the nation. SAIL is a state-owned enterprise that employees more than 70,000 people.
The rescue and recovery operations were still continuing well into the latter half of the day today, and local police confirmed that they had a team on the ground investigating the potential causes of this mishap.