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The Hindu
The Hindu
Naveen Kumar

Chemical leak cited as possible cause of blast at pharma company in Telangana

Hot oil leaked from the jacket of the reactor coming in contact with chemicals inside the reactor was the cause of the explosion at SB Organics Ltd. in Sangareddy’s Hathnoora on April 3, according to officials from the Pollution Control Board (PCB). Smoke came out of the reactor for about 30 minutes before the explosion, a preliminary investigation showed.

The explosion killed six men, including one of the plant’s directors, and injured 16 others.

The Patancheru police have written to the CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Technology and the Defence Research and Development Organisation to inspect the site of the incident. “The probe is also to ascertain whether the chemists at the plant were manufacturing anything other than the licensed chemicals,” said the officials.

PCB official Geeta Sapare, who inspected the site after the incident following a direction by the Sangareddy district administration, said that though the leak was controlled, the already-smoking mixture triggered a blast. “They deal with raw materials that are explosive in nature. We learnt that D. Ravi Kumar Sharma, one of the directors, was trying to control the smoke for about 30 minutes but died in the explosion,” she added.

On the allegations of the reactor having been outdated, officials from the PCB said the Department of Factories is probing into it. An inspector at the department, Praveen, said: “There is no doubt that the blast was caused by the chemical reaction. The probe into the safety of the reactor, however, is yet to be completed.”

The company had three units on the premises. The explosion razed unit 1 whereas the shockwaves shattered the window panes of unit 2, located a few metres away.

Meanwhile, some officials of the Sangareddy Fire department said that as per their probe, the plant was supplying a product to an Ordnance Factory.

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