Protesters stop ambulance, keep bodies on road demanding Vizag plant be shut
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Protesters stop ambulance, keep bodies on road demanding Vizag plant be shut

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Tension prevailed at the plant in the morning as agitated people, returning to their villages after two days, stormed the plant and tried to barge into the premises raising slogans demanding that it be shut immediately and moved elsewhere.

Hundreds of people belonging to RR Venkatapuram and adjoining villages on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday gathered at the LG Polymers Ltd, demanding immediate closure of the plant from where there was a leakage of poisonous Styrene gas vapour on Thursday day that claimed 12 lives.

Tension prevailed at the plant in the morning as agitated people, returning to their villages after two days, stormed the plant and tried to barge into the premises raising slogans demanding that it be shut immediately and moved elsewhere.

Around the same time, ambulances carrying the bodies of some of the victims from King George Hospital mortuary to the villages for cremation were passing by. The angry villagers stopped them and kept the bodies on the road in front of the company gate to stage a dharna.

The police had a tough time controlling the protesters even as the force was mobilised in large numbers in view of Director General of Police Gautam Sawang’s visit to the plant.

A woman protester fell on the feet of the DGP demanding justice for the people by taking immediate action against the company. However, she was taken away by the women constables posted at the spot. The DGP was escorted out of the premises with heavy police security.

“It has been two days since the cases were booked against the management of LG Polymers. But no action was taken against any of the company officials till date. We shall not allow the company to run under any circumstances,” an angry villager told the reporters.

With the situation getting tense, the police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse them. They bundled scores of protesters into vans and took them away to the Gopalapatnam police station. But within no time, many others assembled at the spot and gate-crashed into the company premises.

Visakhapatnam police commissioner RK Meena quickly intervened and, with the help of additional forces, managed to force the protesters out of the company premises. The police managed to shift the bodies from the spot to Venkatapuram village for cremation.

State minister for tourism M Srinivasa Rao and other YSR Congress party leaders tried to convince the angry villagers, saying that the government would make efforts to see that the LG Polymers is moved out.

“The government has appointed a high-powered committee to probe the accident and take stern action against the company. Please bear with us,” Srinivasa Rao appealed to the villagers with folded hands.

The DGP told reporters that the Styrene gas leakage was under complete control and it would be neutralised by evening.

“We are not here to protect anybody. The investigation has begun and we shall take action based on the investigation. There is no need for the villagers to get agitated,” he said.