Guj: Crackdown on illegal chemical units post godown blast

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Ahmedabad, Nov 6 (PTI) In the wake of a powerful explosion in a chemical godown that killed 12 labourers two days ago, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation on Friday sealed six industrial units which had stored hazardous chemicals without permission or licence from government authorities.

Following the November 4 tragedy near here, the AMC's Estate-Town Developmentand Solid Waste Departments initiated a special drive to identify industrial units and godowns where hazardous chemicals have been stored illegally, said a release from the civic body.

During the drive on Friday, officials found half-a- dozen such units, having cumulative construction of 4,050 square metres, in Lambha ward on the city's outskirts, the release said.

This is the same industrial belt where the blast took place.

Since these units and godowns did not have permission or licence to store hazardous chemicals which they were found in possession of, the AMC sealed these facilities, said the release, adding the drive will continue in the coming days.

Twelve labourers, including five women, were killed and 10 others injured after a portion of the godown located on Pirana-Piplaj Road on the city's outskirts collapsed on Wednesday morning following the powerful explosion.

Primary investigations had revealed that hazardous chemicals stored in one part of a large godown exploded following some chemical reaction.

The blast destroyed three to four adjoining godowns where labourers were packing garments.

After the blast, the Ahmedabad police on Thursday lodged an FIR and arrested three persons - two godown owners and their tenant who had stored chemical drums - on charges of culpable homicide.

Senior IAS officer Vipul Mittra, who is part of a two- member probe panel appointed by the Gujarat government, on Thursday asked the AMC to take action against godowns where hazardous chemicals have been stored in violation of rules.