After 2016 blast that killed 12 people, committee recommended chemical factories be shifted out | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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After 2016 blast that killed 12 people, committee recommended chemical factories be shifted out

May 24, 2024 08:16 AM IST

Massive blast at Amudan Chemical Private Limited's factory in Dombivli MIDC not the first; previous blast in 2016 led to closure recommendations for 5 companies.

MUMBAI: The massive blast at Amudan Chemical Private Limited’s factory on Thursday afternoon was not the first such incident at the Dombivli MIDC. The industrial estate, spread over around 350 hectares on Kalyan Shil Road, was rocked by a similar blast in 2016, after which a committee headed by the district collector recommended the closure of at least 5 companies that produced extremely dangerous chemicals.

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On May 25, 2016, a powerful blast in the boiler of Probase Enterprises, a chemical factory located at Shivaji Udyog Nagar in MIDC phase-II, caused widespread destruction in the area. The impact of the blast was such that locked doors of houses in the vicinity flew off hinges, and all glass items, fittings, TV sets, crockery, vehicle glasses and even spectacles were blown to shreds. Following the blast, a massive fire engulfed two neighbouring factories in the MIDC complex and over 600 houses, offices and shops within a 2-km periphery. At least 12 people died in the incident, including two sons and a daughter-in-law of the owner of Probase Enterprises, Dr Vishwas V Vakatkar, while around 200 people were injured.

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The state government appointed a committee under the chairmanship of the then district collector of Thane to inquire into the blast and submit a report to the state government along with recommendations for avoiding such mishaps in future.

In its report submitted in July 2017, the committee recommended that companies in Dombivli MIDC which manufactured toxic chemicals be placed under the “major accident hazard” category, so that their owners were compelled to take adequate safety measures. The committee also recommended that at least five out of 437 companies in the industrial estate, which produced extremely dangerous chemicals, be shifted out as a college, a school and residential areas were located close to it.

Presently too, the entire MIDC area is surrounded by residential and commercial buildings, while at least 50 hectares of MIDC land is encroached upon by unauthorised residential structures.

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