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NGT directs Jindal Steel to pay Rs 20 lakh each to 2020 blast victims’ kin

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lakh each to the kin of two workers who died due to a blast in its plant at Patralapli village in Chhattisgarh's Raigarh district on June 10, 2020.

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) to pay a compensation of Rs 20 lakh each to the kin of two workers who died due to a blast in its plant at Patralapli village in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district on June 10, 2020.

The NGT bench also directed JSPL to pay compensation of Rs 5 lakh to those injured within one month.

“In default of payment, the District Magistrate may take coercive measures for recovery, including disconnecting the electricity,” the bench of Chairperson Justice A.K. Goel (retd) said.

Kanhaiya Lal Poddar and Jayman Khellkon, who had suffered nearly 90 per cent burn injuries in the incident, died at a hospital on June 12, 2020, while Arvind Kumar Singh and Laluram survived with injuries.

The bench, also comprising judicial member Justice ArunKumar Tyagi along with expert members A. Senthil Vel and Afroz Ahmad, requested the State Legal Services Authority to provide the necessary legal aid in the matter.

The NGT bench said that this order will not debar any other civil or criminal liability of the JSPL. “We further direct the Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health (DISH) to audit the safety norms adopted by the unit so that such incidents do not reoccur in the future,” it said.

The NGT proceedings were initiated in the matter suo-motu on the basis of the media reports. The green bench also observed that the works were denied fair treatment and justice.

“Death of two workers and burn injuries to two other surviving work ers was on account of failure of the establishment to follow environmental safety norms. A commercial establishment undertaking hazardous activities has absolute financial liability for injury or loss of life to anyone. Such liability is apart from liabilities under other laws, including criminal offences,” the bench said.

“Unfortunately, no proceedings appear to have been initiated for IPC offences such as under section 304 A IPC and only prosecution which has been initiated is under Factories Act only against the managers who have been let off by imprisonment till rising of court and fine,” it added.

“As a responsible business entity, JSPL is expected to show sensitivity for loss of lives and injuries to persons on account of failure in following expected norms but unfortunately, they have chosen to raise technicalities and even two years after the incident,” said the bench.

“Mere expression of willingness instead of doing duty is nothing. We cannot help recording our observation that the establishment has not shown concern expected from a responsible business entity. We hope the Legal Service Authority will reach out to the victims to provide them access to justice,” it added.

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