Andhra Pradesh Industries Minister M Goutham Reddy on Thursday said the state government is airlifting 500 kg inhibitors as a foolproof safety measure to neutralize the chemical substances in the Visakhapatnam gas leak incident.
The company will be asked to explain what went wrong, even as the leak was contained within an hour, the minister said.
The substance in one of the storage tanks vapourised due to heat, leading to the leakage through one of the factory chimneys. The incident did not happen because the plant was running, he said.
"Immediately after the leak, we neutralised the compound. We applied inhibitors to neutralise the liquid compound," Mr Reddy, who was in Hyderabad, told PTI, when asked about the government's response.
The administration responded immediately after receiving information about the incident.
The minister said inhibitors were used to neutralise the impact of the leak and that more of them are being sourced. The administration is taking precautionary measures like watering the entire area.
Industries which fall under "red" category are required to maintain safety protocols 24x7 as they deal with hazardous chemicals and materials, Mr Reddy said.
The government has laid out norms for such industries to be doubly careful against contamination of air, soil and towards maintaing the value of life and environment, the minister said.
The management should have been proactive in ensuring that such incidents do not happen and the company will be asked to explain to the government about the leak, he said, adding that the state government is also in touch with the Korean embassy.
The LG Polymers unit was supposed to reopen post-lockdown on Thursday.
"We are trying to reach out to the top management of the (South Korean) company... our immediate priority is to arrest the leak and ensure proper medical care and attention to the affected people," the minister had earlier said.
Meanwhile, a senior official said inhibitors are aiding in slowly reducing the vapour.
"Slowly the vapour is reducing. It has not been arrested fully. They are using neutralisers like TBC (4-tertButylcatechol (TBC)," Joint Chief Inspector of Factories, Visakhapatnam, J Siva Sankar Reddy told PTI.
A major early morning chemical leak from a polymer plant near Visakhapatnam impacted villages in a 5-km radius, leaving 11 people dead and scores of citizens suffering from breathlessness and other problems, as the Andhra government ordered a probe into the issue.