Saturday, 25 March, 2023

Explosion at Sheema Oxygen Plant

Probe body finds lack of compliance

CHATTOGRAM: The inquiry committee, formed to investigate the deadly explosion at Sheema Oxygen Plant in Sitakunda, submitted its report to Chattogram Deputy Commissioner (DC) in the latter's office on Tuesday afternoon.

The nine-member committee, led by Additional District Magistrate Rakib Hasan, handed over the report to DC Abul Bashar Md Fakhruzzaman.

The DC told reporters that he would send the report to the cabinet secretary and disclose the findings after receiving permission. However, he mentioned that the report contains recommendations that need to be implemented to prevent accidents in the industries from recurring.

"We have already begun some initiatives after the accident occurred on March 4. We are planning to arrange a workshop for the individuals concerned from all oxygen plants in Chattogram soon," he added.

Additionally, inspections will be carried out at all industrial units to ensure compliance, said the DC. When asked about the possibility of sabotage, the DC declined to comment on the matter.

The committee head Rakib Hasan stated that an explosion at an oxygen plant is a rare occurrence and the first of its kind in Bangladesh. There have been four to five such incidents worldwide in the last decade.

Refusing to disclose the findings, Rakib said the investigation found a lack of compliance at the plant. "We have presented nine recommendations in the eight-page report to avoid accidents in industries in the future," he said.                 Seven people were killed, and 30 others injured in a deadly explosion at the oxygen plant in Kadam Rasul area under the upazila on March 4. The explosion sparked a fire that quickly spread to the entire plant compound, blowing up structures, machinery, and oxygen cylinders.

People living far away from the plant felt shaking like an earthquake and heard sounds of the explosion.

Upon receiving information, ten firefighting units from the Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD) department rushed to the spot and brought the fire under control.

The district administration formed the nine-member committee to investigate the accident. Although the committee was given five working days to submit a report, it was later granted a two-day extension.

Other members of the committee included Chattogram Additional Superintendent of Police Sudipta Sarkar, UpazilaNirbahi Officer (Sitakunda) Md Shahadat Hossain, Fire Service and Civil Defence Department Deputy Director Md Abdul Halim, Officer in-Charge (OC) Tofail Ahmed of Sitakunda police station, Assistant Inspector SM Shakhawat Hossain of Explosive Department, Assistant Inspector Shuvankar Dutta of Inspection of Factories and Establishments, Chittagong University Applied Chemistry Department Chairman Suman Barua and Chittagong University of Engineering and Technology Mechanical Engineering Department Assistant Professor Mamunur Rashid. 

The explosion took place just after nine months into another deadly accident at nearby ‘BM Container Depot’ that claimed lives of 51 persons and injured 250 others on June 4 last year.