2009 Korba chimney collapse
The 2009 Korba chimney collapse occurred at the BALCO Korba power station in the town of Korba in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh on 23 September 2009. It was under construction by Gannon Dunkerley & Company Limited (GDCL) for Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation (Sepco), who themselves were under contract for the Bharat Aluminium Co Ltd (BALCO). Construction had reached 240 meters when the chimney collapsed on top of more than 100 workers who had been taking shelter from a thunderstorm. At least 45 deaths were recorded.
Incident and rescue
Plans specify a 250 meter chimney for the construction of a coal-fired power plant by Bharat Aluminum Company, which is owned by Vedanta Resources. The incident happened during extreme weather conditions involving lightning and torrential rainfall. Workers sought shelter from the rain in a nearby store room, and a lightning strike at approximately 16:00 brought the chimney down on top of them.
A rescue attempt was initiated following the collapse. Ongoing rain obstructed efforts to retrieve the trapped workers. At least seven of the wounded were hospitalised. An GDCL employee was allegedly lynched by angry workers; his corpse was located near the scene. It was originally thought he had fallen from the chimney, but wounds indicate he was attacked.
An investigation is ongoing to determine the cause of the collapse. Balco initially did not discussed the incident at length, stating only that "[t]here is an accident and some people are injured"; claiming to be too busy with the rescue effort to make a longer statement. The state government believes that Balco had been "overlooking security aspects". District superintendent of police, Ratanlal Dangi, described it as "a massive accident".Rs. 100,000 (US$2084) in compensation will be granted to relatives of each of the dead.
In November 2008, the project manager from GDCL was arrested, as well as three officials from Vedanta Resources which manages Balco. Later the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Raipur observed that the materials were of substandard quality and technically faulty in design. NIT also concluded that there was improper water curing and that soil at the site was not up to code. Additionally, supervision and monitoring was found to be negligent. On January 11, 2010, as a result of these findings, three senior officials of Sepco, the Chinese company contracted to build the chimney, were arrested and are being held without bail.
References and Resources
- Balco chimney mishap: Three Chinese officials arrested in Korba. The Hindustan Times (2010-01-11). Archived from the original on 15 January 2010. Retrieved on 2010-01-26.
- Anderlini, Jamil (2009-09-29). India questions Sepco staff over chimney collapse. The Financial Times. Archived from the original on 3 October 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-29.
- 25 die in accident at BALCO's new plant at Korba. Business Standard (2009-09-24). Retrieved on 2009-09-24.
- Deaths as India chimney collapses. Al Jazeera (2009-09-23). Archived from the original on 24 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-23.
- Many dead after construction accident in India. Radio Netherlands Worldwide (2009-09-23). Retrieved on 2009-09-23.
- Balco chimney fall kills 24. The Telegraph (Kolkata) (2009-09-24). Retrieved on 2009-09-24.
- 25 die in accident at Balco's new plant at Korba. Business Standard (2009-09-24). Retrieved on 2009-09-24.
- India chimney collapse 'kills 15'. BBC (2009-09-23). Archived from the original on 29 September 2009. Retrieved on 2009-09-23.
- 15 die in power plant accident. The Straits Times (2009-09-23). Retrieved on 2009-09-23.
- UPDATE 2-At least 20 killed in Indian chimney collapse. Reuters (2009-09-23). Retrieved on 2009-09-23.
- 15 workers killed, 50 trapped in Chhattisgarh plant, probe ordered. Sify (2009-09-23). Archived from the original on 2009-09-27. Retrieved on 2009-09-23.