Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam saw a tragic gas leakage incident on Thursday morning. According to a report on TOI, 11 persons including an eight-year-old girl and two senior citizens died while 5,000 fell ill after inhaling the toxic gas. The horrific incident took place around 3 AM at LG Polymers Ltd colony at Gopalapatnam when most of the people in the nearby areas were sleeping.
Gas Leak Tragedies in India
Several people fall sick
The locals were in a panic and started running here and there in the 3 km radius area. Most of them were not able to understand what went wrong. In this panic situation, many people came out from their houses, and some of them turned unconscious while several people started breathing problems. A large number of people, especially children and elderly people, fainted at their homes due to the bitter smell of gas. The leakage also affected some people with rashes on their bodies as well.
Administration reaches on spot
The gas leakage news spread like wildfire. The police and administration became active and rushed to the spot. The police faced lots of difficulty in reaching the colonies amid pungent smell. But soon cops started the evacuation process. The police personnel appealed to the people to vacate their houses as soon as possible and reach safer places. The sick people were taken to the King George Hospital and other nearby hospitals. The exact cause of the incident is not known.
Oxygen support for locals
The administration has been monitoring the situation. The situation appears to be under control now. The Vizag district administration has immediately arranged the necessary medical facilities and provided oxygen support to those local people who were facing breathing difficulties.
Rescue teams in action
The rescue operation is going on at a war footing pace. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) teams have been deployed in the entire region to monitor the situation and prevent any untoward incident. Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy is scheduled to visit the affected areas to look at the situation.
Plant set to open today
The LG Polymers industry was set up in 1961 as Hindustan Polymers for manufacturing polystyrene and its co-polymers in Vizag. The industry was merged with Mc Dowell & Company Limited of UB Group in 1978. It was scheduled to reopen its plant on Thursday after more than 40 days of closure amid COVID-19.
Gas leakage disasters have occurred several times in the country. Here is the list of some tragedies.
Bhopal gas tragedy
The horrific Bhopal gas tragedy occurred in 1984 in which more than 4,000 people died (as per the official report) but unofficially the death toll is higher. It is estimated that more than 600,000 people fell sick due to inhaling the methyl isocyanate gas and other toxic chemicals. Safety experts had warned the government to make strict safety rules, especially for those people who live around the plant for the tragedy hit.
Kanpur gas tragedy
In 2017, another gas leakage incident occurred near Kanpur when ammonia leaked from the gas chamber of a cold storage facility. More than two dozen people were trapped inside the plant, and the leakage killed five labourers, and eight suffered significant injuries.
Minor gas tragedy in Durg
In January 2020, six employees fell sick after inhaling toxic gas leaked in the Bhilai plant of the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) in Durg, Chattisgarh. The affected employees rushed to the hospital. Fortunately, no one died. The incident took place due to a blast in the plant.
Gas tragedy always takes place in India. There is a need for strict safety measures to overcome this problem.