12 Killed in Fire at Pune Chemical Plant; PM Declares Rs 2L Each for Kin

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At least 12 workers, many of them women, died and several others were missing after a major fire broke out at a chemical company located in an industrial area in Pune district on Monday, fire department officials said. The fire broke out at SVS Aqua Technologies, which manufactures chlorine dioxide and is located in the Pirangut MIDC area of Mulshi tehsil on the outskirts of Pune city, they said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief in a tweet and said, “Pained by the loss of lives due to a fire at a factory in Pune, Maharashtra. Condolences to the bereaved families.” President Ram Nath Kovind also condoled the deaths and said, “The loss of lives of workers, mostly women, in a fire accident at a factory in Pune is extremely unfortunate. My condolences to the families of the deceased. I pray for speedy recovery of the injured.”

The Prime Minister’s Office announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next kin of those who lost their lives due to a fire at the industrial unit in Pune, Maharashtra. Rs. 50,000 would be provided to those injured, a statement said. Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to kin of those who lost their lives in the fire.

“According to company officials, 17 workers were missing when the blaze started at around 4pm. “So far, we have recovered 12 charred bodies, mostly of women, from the spot and a search for others is on,” said Devendra Potphode, Chief Fire Officer, PMRDA ((Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority), Fire Services.

He said six to seven fire tenders were rushed to the chemical unit, where flames were doused but the search is underway for the missing workers. Asked about the possible cause of the blaze, Potphode said as per the company officials, the fire started during packing of plastic materials in the premises.

“Due to some spark at the (packaging) section, the fire broke out and as there was plastic around, it spread rapidly,” said Potphode. Dr Abhinav Deshmukh, Superintendent of Police, Pune district, said the plant is engaged in producing chlorine dioxide for water purification.

Chlorine dioxide is a chemical compound which has a variety of antimicrobial uses, including the disinfection of drinking water.

The Maharashtra government has announced a probe into the incident.

(With PTI inputs)

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