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Fire Safety: Nitika pharma gets closure notice

Nagpur: The 
Directorate of Industrial Safety and Health (DISH) has served a closure notice to Nitika Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd in Wanjra, where a fire triggered by an explosion claimed nine lives and left 12 injured n December 2.

The company was issued a 'stop production' notice served by assistant director of DISH S M Dhanvijay for neglecting safety norms as prescribed under the Industries Regulation Act.

The industrial safety directorate stated that the temperature inside the fluid based drier (FBD) exceeded the normal limit. Moreover, the drier where the explosion took place was not appropriately maintained, which posed a safety and health risk to the workers at the factory. The work procedure too was not safe and no arrangement was made to ensure workers' safety. The directorate has also filed criminal cases against managing director Ravleen Khurana in the district court.

In his report, Dhanvijay stated that until the terms and conditions are fulfilled, production at the company will not be allowed to resume. "The thermic fluid heater was not tested by the competent person once in at least 12 months, as required. The revised factory and building plans as well as the machinery layout plan shall be approved from the additional director, industrial safety and health, Nagpur office," the report stated.

The Yashodhara Nagar police too have registered cases against Khurana, company's senior manager (operations) Deepak Rathod and senior manager (maintenance) Prashant Subhedar under sections 304A (causing death by negligence), 338 (causing grievous hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others) read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.
The police arrested Rathod and Subhedar on December 5 and produced the duo before the district court on the same day, where Khurana too surrendered. They were later granted bail.

Similarly, the fire and emergency services department of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation too had submitted a negative report to the Yashodhara Nagar police and said the pharma company ignored firefighting safety measures.

Citing sections 36, 37 and 38 (1) and (2) of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Act 2006, chief fire officer Rajendra Uchake said the police can initiate action against the owner.

Section 36 of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Act can be slapped for failure of the owner or, as the case may be, the occupier to provide and maintain fire prevention and life safety equipment. It also empowers the police to seal the building. Under section 37, the police can issue a non-bailable warrant against the owner.

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