First it was the Telugu Desam and its majority in the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council that put a spanner in the works as far as Jaganmohan Reddy’s plan to move the executive capital to Visakhapatnam was concerned. That resulted in an upset Jagan deciding to abolish the Council altogether.
Then came the Corona virus pandemic and the lockdown that brought everything to a standstill. Now the LG Polymers gas leak has put a question mark over the safety aspect of Vizag given the high concentration of industry in a limited area in the port city.
Vizag was ravaged by Cyclone Hudhud in 2014 and it took some time for the sea city to get back on its feet. Aware that an unsafe tag could ground his capital plan, Jagan has asked the state Pollution Control Board (PCB) to identify hazardous factories in and around Visakhapatnam and located in densely populated areas. The emphasis is on ensuring a safe and risk-free city and ensuring they are far away from human habitations.
Apart from constituting an investigation by a high-level enquiry team into the mishap in which both the Chairman and the Member Secretary of the PCB are involved as members, Jagan wants a comprehensive safety audit of all industry to be conducted. Prima facie, in the case of LG Polymers, it seems to be a case of laxity in standard operating procedure while recommissioning the plant after a lockdown of more than 40 days.
Decongesting Vizag will be easier said than done as the city is home to several PSUs and pharma companies.