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3 Chinese arrested on Vedanta Chimney disaster case



Korba, January 11, 2010: Three Chinese nationals were arrested today by Chhattisgarh police in connection with the collapse of the giant Chimney of the under construction power plant of Britain based Vedanta Group at Korba, in which 40 workers were killed, police said.

All the three Chinese nationals are the employee of the Chinese group Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCO), a company that bagged the contract to construct a 275 metre long chimney of the 1200 Mega Watt Power plant of the Indian subsidiary of the Vedanta at Korba.

"Korba Police has arrested SEPCO Project In-Charge Wu Chhunan and engineers Liu Gaukuance and Wang Weiquing under sections 304 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code, which read as culpable homicide not amounting to murder and of acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention," Korba District Superintendent of Police Ratan Lal Dangi told ChhattisgarhTopNews.Com.

With that, seven officials from three organizations have been arrested so far in connection with the September 23, last Chimney disaster incident in which 40 workers were killed and several injured.

Vice President and Project In-charge of the 1200 Mega Watt power plant of BALCO, Viral Mehta, Assistant General Manager Deepak Narang and Project Engineer Anup Mohapatra, all from Vedanta, and Manoj Sharma, the Project Manager of Gannon Dunkerley and Company Limited (GDCL) were arrested earlier by Korba police under section 304 and 34 of IPC.

The GDCL was assigned the task of constructing a 275-metre chimney for the power plant by Chinese group SEPCO and on September 23, the partially built chimney collapsed, burying labourers under tonnes of concrete at Korba.

"Police has also submitted reports in the court from more than one technical institute to dismiss the claim of VEDANTA that the chimney was collapsed due to lightening and bad weather," Dangi said.

"We have submitted before the court with annexure that the Chimney was collapsed due to use of sub standard materials.

"Before and also at the time of construction of the giant Chimney, soil testing was not conducted as per the Indian Standard Code," he said.

"Lightening and bad weather was not the reason behind the collapse rather workmanship was poor and also the supervision and monitoring was poor which were responsible for the collapse of the chimney," said the Police chief.

Besides recording the statements of about 150 people, during the course of investigation, the police had also sent the samples of the collapsed chimney to the National Council for Cement and Building at Ballabhgarh in Haryana and also to the National Institute of Technology, Raipur, and on the basis of their reports the chargesheet was prepared, the police said.

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