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Owners Held in Coating Plant Blast

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

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Two owners of a powder-coating factory in Mumbai have been arrested after an explosion that killed one worker and injured two over the weekend.

Santosh Singh, 29, and Dharmendra Jaiswal, 31, were charged Monday (Nov. 11) under the Indian Penal Code in Sunday's explosion at Dhanlaxmi Powder Coating, which killed a 23-year-old worker in the suburb of Sakinaka, news reports said.

Singh owns the company; Jaiswal owns the land on which the factory sits, reports said.

Powder Coating
Wikimedia Commons

The plant was not licensed, an increasing problem in that region, police said. The facility shown is not the Dhanlaxmi Powder Coating factory.

Two other workers were injured in the pre-dawn blast, news reports said. Mohammed Kalam Ahmad suffered burns over 20 percent of his body; Mohammed Asfaq Ansari was treated at a hospital for a head injury and released, police told the The Times of India.

News accounts of the men's ages varied, but they appeared to be in the early 20s.

Illegal Unit

News outlets reported that Singh and Jaiswal had been charged with:

  • Causing death due to negligence;
  • An act endangering the life or personal safety of others;
  • Causing grievous hurt; and
  • Common intention.

Senior police inspector Prasanna More told The Indian Express that the workers had been using an illegal coating set-up.

"The three were operating a container used in coating metal furniture under high pressure and high temperatures," More said. "Pressure build-up might have triggered the explosion."

Another police officer told the Times that the workers had inserted a metal bed into "a chamber filled with gas. Due to excessive heat and gas, the chamber exploded."

The deceased worker had just begun working for the company and slept in the factory, reports said.

Deadly Factories

The explosion was the second fatal blast this year at a factory in Saki Naka. In March, an unpermitted industrial operation at an aluminum casting factory blew up and caused a home to collapse, killing five people and severely injuring seven others.

Mumbai plant explosion screen grab

Five people were killed in March when a makeshift casting factory exploded, causing a home to collapse in the Mumbai suburb of Sakinaka. Officials are considering shutting down power to the illegal factories.

That plant owner is also facing criminal charges.

After that incident, a senior local official told reporters that authorities were trying to stamp out the growing number of unlicensed industrial operations with regular prosecutions of facility owners.

"There are many unauthorized factory units in the area, and our preliminary inquiry states that this particular unit was started only four months ago," the unidentified official told the Hindustan Times.

The factory had no business license and had not obtained a fire safety inspection, the official said.

In addition to prosecuting owners, local officials are working with the local power company to permanently shut off the power supply to illegal plants.


Tagged categories: Coatings manufacturers; Explosions; Fatalities

Comment from WAN MOHAMAD NOR WAN ABDUL RAHMAN, (11/12/2013, 5:39 AM)

My experience in India, money can buy anything. They have no value for human lives. The rich become richer while the poor become poorer.

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