Bhubaneswar, Nov 14:
Forest and Environment minister Bijayshree Rroutray on Wednesday threw up his hands in despair admitting that Bhushan Steel Limited has been constantly defying the state government despite several warnings to put in place adequate security measures at its plant at Meramandali in Odapada block of Angul district.
He also admitted that the role of some officials is suspect in the whole affair.
The minister said he had ordered a thorough security audit of the plant in April this year after a series of accidents in the plant premises.
Putting up a brave front, the minister said he would now personally supervise the inquiry into the safety aspects of the plant.
At least 98 persons have died due to accidents in the plant since it was commissioned. While two persons died in 2005, the figure went up to seven in 2006 and 16 in 2008 before coming down marginally to 15 in 2009, 12 in 2010 and 2011, an RTI application revealed. The toll rose sharply again to 20 in 2012 while 12 people have died so far this year, the RTI query revealed.