Paradip (Odisha), Feb 20: At least 27 workers were injured, 11 of them seriously, when the roof of a silo caved in at an Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Limited (IFFCO) plant here today.
“The steel and asbestos structure in the shore-based IFFCO unit premises collapsed causing injuries to about 27 workers. Eleven of them sustained serious injury,” Paradip additional superintendent of police Bijay Sahu, who supervised the rescue operation, said.
Fire brigade, ambulance and emergency service personnel from IFFCO, Paradip Port Trust and Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) were pressed into service for rescue and debris clearance operations, he said.
Rescue operation was undertaken with temporary lighting arrangements made in the silo.
“There is a remote chance of anyone being trapped inside in view of the timing of the incident, which occurred during tea break,” a company official claimed.
Besides, a few workers had gone to nearby temples after reporting for duty to offer prayers on ‘Maha Sivaratri' today, while many were absent as they had gone to their villages to cast their votes in the last phase of panchayat elections in the state yesterday, he said.
The critically injured workers were shifted to private hospitals in Cuttack, while the rest were admitted to nearby hospitals for treatment, he said.
An IFFCO statement in New Delhi, however, claimed that only 11 people were injured in the incident and hospitalised. IFFCO unit's Executive Director M R Patel said the silo was properly maintained and must have caved in due to rapid corrosion in view of its proximity to the sea.
The structure with the capacity to store 45,000 tonnes of material was used for storing fertilisers. Locals and workers union leaders blamed the plant management for the incident.
Company local authorities gave a detailed list of the 27 persons injured in the incident based on the information submitted by contractors.
Jagatsinghpur district collector N C Jena and superintendent of police S Debadutta Singh rushed to the spot, the sources added.