Mettur, 30 January, 2008 A contract worker Prithviraj, age 25 yrs, died on the way to the hospital after being severely injured in an accident during the construction of the thermal power plant in Chemplast Sanmar, Mettur. The accident took place on 28 January 2008 at about noon. According to the reports another worker has been severely injured and is currently undergoing treatment at Gokulam Hospital, a private facility in Salem.
Both the workers are migrant workers from Punjab who have been working on contract basis with the industry. The accident took place while these workers slipped while fixing a fan in the cooling tower of the thermal plant and the fan crashed on them. Reports state that the workers were not wearing any of the safety equipment that is mandatory for such work. A local newspaper also reported that an First Information Report has been filed with the police and action is pending.
According to the sources Chemplast initially refused to pay any compensation to the family of the dead worker. It was only after serious protest by a group of about 20 other contract workers from Punjab who are also employed in the same factory, the unit resolved the issue next morning by paying a sum of 3 lakhs to the worker’s family.
Accidents at the Power plant site of Chemplast are a frequent phenomenon. In another incident on 19 November, 2007, Gunasekaran, a contract worker from Salem Camp, was crushed to death at the construction site of power plant. The company had even then resolved the matter by paying compensation to the widow.
Ever since the launch of this 48.5 MW thermal power plant project about a year ago, accidents, deaths and injuries and explosions from the site seem to be common. So far no action is known to have been taken on the unit by the Factories Inspectorate. A fresh complaint regarding this accident has been filed with the Inspectorate and response is pending.
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