Times of India – Ship-breakers arrested for Alang fire

(Written by Vijaysinh Parmar)

11 October 2012 - Bhavnagar: Three ship-breakers have been arrested and booked for culpable homicide, five days after six labourers died in the fire that broke out in a oil tanker that was being dismantled in Alang. Those arrested are owners of Kiran Ship Breaking Company R K Jain and V K Jain along with manager of the firm Rajesh Jugud. However, hours after their arrest, the owners complained of chest pain and were taken to a hospital in Bhavnagar.

Sources said this is for the first time that ship-breakers have been arrested following such an accident.

Confirming their arrest on Thursday, police inspector P R Desai said the three have been booked for culpable homicide and negligent conduct with respect to fire. While five persons had died on the spot, another had succumbed to his injuries at a hospital in Bhavnagar. One more labourer is struggling for life after he sustained major burns in the blast.

All the victims are from Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. The deceased were identified as Hiralal Chaudhary (28), Ajay Chaudhary (22), Ram Milan (35), Sanjay Yadav (25), Subhash Yadav (28) and Dharmendra Chaudhary. The injured person Ram Singh Sahai is in critical condition.

Sources said that after the incident, different agencies launched investigations and found negligence on part of the company. Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) has sealed the plot till the investigation continues.

Various agencies, including Forensic Science Laboratory, have concluded that there was a prima facie case of negligence and violation of safety rules on part of the ship owners.