Factory owner violated Factories Act norms

The fact-finding report of an inquiry conducted by SDM Jadgeep Sehgal has found that the factory owner had violated all norms pertaining to the Factories Act, 1987, did not renew the fire no-objection certificate (NOC), had storage exceeding beyond the permissible capacity, no declaration made to the industry department, had no explosive licence and no permission from the pollution control board to run the unit.

With all such objections, Sehgal has submitted the report to the deputy commissioner Gurpreet Kaur Sapra to take necessary action.

Interestingly, after finding such glaring anomalies, the thinner manufacturing factory is still operating on the same premises where the fire incident had occurred.

Sehgal said, "The deputy director, factories, in his report to me has alleged that the owner was supposed to maintain a record of the storage capacity of thinner and submit the same to the department. The owner could store only 25,000 lt of thinner but he had stored way beyond one lakh lt. The owner also did not renew the fire NOC, hence the unit was functioning in violation of various norms. The report has been submitted to the DC for further action to be taken."

The SDM also said that the owner was supposed to employee an expert to operate and manage the fire-fighting system installed at the factory and according to the act he was to maintain the record. Sehgal added that, "Neither he had employed any expert, nor the fire-fighting system was working and was found defunct on the day of the incident."

The thinner manufacturing factory situated in a densely populated part of industrial area, Phase VII in Mohali, caught fire where thousands of litres of thinner was stored in barrels as well as in an underground tank. The fire engulfed the factory, Chem Teck Industry, owned by Sat Pal Garg and situated at C-142, industrial area, Phase-VII, in 
Mohali on March 15.

The fire was followed by multiple explosions at the thinner factory due to the highly inflammable chemical stored in barrels, which exploded followed by ball of fire rising in air.

The owners of the adjoining factories have demanded shifting of such dangerous material storage factories from densely populated part of the industrial area. Rajiv Gupta, owner of Synergy Metals, said that they had been warning the owner of the chemical unit to get proper fire safety arrangements but they never listened to them. "Such units must be located away from densely populated areas. The incident had put lives of hundreds of other workers and units in danger," he said.

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