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National Green Tribunal penalises Brandix for 2 gas leaks in Andhra

VISAKHAPATNAM: The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a fine of Rs 10 crore on Brandix, holding it responsible for the two gas leaks at the apparel unit in Atchutapuram Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Anakapalle district.

Of the total sum, the management of the apparel unit has been directed to pay Rs 5 crore as compensation to 539 employees who were affected by the gas leaks. Each victim has to be given Rs 1 lakh.The remaining amount has to be used for environmental improvement in the area by AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB).

In its verdict, the NGT made is clear that if Rs 10 crore is not deposited with the APPCB within two months, coercive measures, including closure, may be taken.It asked AP State Legal Services Authority to prepare an action plan for identifying the victims and distributing the compensation. After an unidentified gas leaked in the apparel unit on June 3, resulting in scores of employees falling sick, suo motu proceedings were initiated following media reports.

A committee was appointed and even as the NGT court was about to deliver a judgment, another gas leak was reported in the same unit on August 2.As reported by the management of the company, employees had complained of vomiting, bowl irritation and breathlessness after inhaling the gas.The APPCB chairman had submitted the committee’s report on the findings to the NGT on December 14, 2022.

According to the report, air and dust samples collected from the area and buildings of Brandix Intimate India showed presence of chemicals like acetonitrile, dichoromethane, ethyl acetate, n-hexane, toluene, chloromethane, cyclopropane, acetaldehyde, furan, acetone, 2-methyl propanal, n-butanol, 2-methyl furan, 2-butanone, benzene, 2, 3-butanedione, 2-methyl butanol and chlorpyrifos.

Holding Brandix responsible for the two incidents, the NGT directed the establishment to follow safety protocols in the future and compensate the victims and the environment.