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July 17, 2024

LG Chem vows humanitarian support for Indian victims of 2020 gas leak

PUBLISHED : July 10, 2024 - 16:18

UPDATED : July 10, 2024 - 16:18

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LG Chem Vice Chairman and CEO Shin Hak-cheol (left) shakes hands with Andhra Pradesh's Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu at the minister's office in Andhra Pradesh, a southern coastal state of India, on Tuesday. (LG Chem)

LG Chem has pledged to increase humanitarian support for villagers affected by the 2020 gas leak accident at its Indian subsidiary LG Polymers.

According to the company on Wednesday, its top executives, including Vice Chairman and CEO Shin Hak-cheol and Chief Financial Officer Cha Dong-seok, visited Andhra Pradesh, a southern coastal state of India, on Tuesday to meet with the state’s Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and local people.

At the site, Shin expressed his deepest sympathy to those affected by the accident. "We will do our utmost to provide practical humanitarian support to local residents before the trial results are announced," the vice chairman was quoted as saying during the meeting.

The new assistance amounts to some 1.2 billion rupees ($14.3 million).

The company has decided to extend support to approximately 5,000 households in the village near the accident site. It also plans to offer living support to villages surrounding the factory in consultation with the state government.

Additionally, a screening center for health follow-up will be established to address the villagers' needs, with the treatment facilities in designated hospitals to be expanded to a total of 15 locations.

A new foundation by LG Chem will be established in India to promote social responsibility initiatives, ensuring continuous recovery and care for the villagers.

LG Polymers was LG Chem's first acquisition in India when it entered the country's market in 1996.

In May 2020, hundreds of people were hospitalized due to a toxic styrene gas leak from the plant, resulting in 12 deaths. In 2021, the company sent 80 tons of zeolite, a crucial material for oxygen supply, to Andhra Pradesh.

The Andhra Pradesh state government paid 375 million rupees in compensation to the victims immediately after the accident. LG Polymers has since deposited over 20 billion won ($14.4 million) at authorities' request for restoration activities.

To date, more than 5,000 individuals affected by the accident have received medical services at designated hospitals. Liability and compensation proceedings are ongoing in local courts.

Meanwhile, LG Chem is nearing completion of a 50,000-ton ABS polymer manufacturing compound plant in Sri City, approximately 780 kilometers from the LG Polymers site, through a new investment.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)

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