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Maharashtra: Death toll climbs to 10 in Dombivali boiler blast, rescue operations underway

Thane: The death toll from the boiler blast at a chemical factory in Dombivli has risen to 10, with rescue operations ongoing to retrieve two missing individuals.
Chairman of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board, Siddhesh Kadam, inspected the site on Friday and said that they are working to complete this rescue operation as soon as possible.
"There have been a total of 10 casualties here, with 2 people missing, so the rescue operation is ongoing. We are working to complete this rescue operation as soon as possible and dealing with the hazardous chemicals," Kadam said.
Under the directive of Chief Minister Eknath Shinde, Kadam reviewed the incident and discussed plans to prevent future tragedies.
"I am here at the site today to review this tragic incident under the direction of the Chief Minister. He has given strict instructions to provide all necessary support for the ongoing rescue operations and to prepare a plan to swiftly relocate the hazardous chemical unit from here. After this visit, we will have a meeting with our officers to finalize the plan, which we will then present to the Chief Minister," Kadam said.
When asked about the opposition's stand on the incident, he said, "I believe it is not appropriate to engage in politics at this place. If the opposition wants to contribute, they should not always oppose but also assist and support us."
Earlier in the day, Ambadas Danve, Leader of the Opposition in the Maharashtra Legislative Council, criticized the lack of industrial safety measures in the area.
"There has been no Industrial Safety Department here. If you look at this area, such a factory should not have been here near the residential area and is the biggest crime...A technical person should have been here because a normal worker or labourer cannot handle a reactor. It is wrong to have such expectations from a normal labourer...The management of this factory is responsible for the blast. The Industrial Safety Department has been ignorant towards this. Under the leadership of Uddhav Thackeray a meeting was held in this area," Danve said.
"There are around 450 factories in this area and an order was given to move all the chemical factories from this area...This is not the first accident in this industrial area since 2016 this is the fifth or sixth such accident," Danve added.
The increase in residential areas around the industrial zone has raised safety concerns.
"This used to be an industrial area, but over the years, the number of residents has increased. To prevent such incidents from recurring in the future, we are planning to either relocate the hazardous chemical unit to a safer place or repurpose the area for something else," Kadam said.
"This could have been very dangerous. Therefore, the hazardous chemical units in this area must be removed as soon as possible. We have made all the necessary plans, and the final approval will come after the Chief Minister's approval," he added, informing about the ongoing planning to remove hazardous chemical unit to some other place.
Meanwhile, Thane Police have registered a case against the company owners of Amudan Chemical Private Limited, Malti Pradeep Mehta, Malay Pradeep Mehta, and other officials under various sections of the IPC, including 304, 324, 326, 285, 286, 427, and 34. The accused are currently absconding, with five police teams formed to apprehend them.
"The accused is absconding after a case was registered against the Mehta family and the owner of the Amudan factory. A total of 5 teams have been formed to arrest the accused and are tracing the accused," Thane Police said.
According to the Thane Police, inadequate precautions in chemical processing and storage led to the explosion. The blast, which occurred on Thursday at a plant in Phase Two of the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area, was so powerful that it was heard several kilometers away. Initial reports indicated seven fatalities and 48 injuries, with large reactor pieces scattering up to a kilometer away.
"Proper precautions were not taken regarding the chemical process and the storage of the raw materials and final products, which led to chemical explosions," Thane Police added.
Efforts continue to manage the aftermath of this event and ensure the safety of the community.
Further details are awaited.

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