A day after 22 people faced problem in breathing and complained of irritation in eyes after chlorine gas leaked from cylinders, officials of the municipal corporation on Saturday termed it a minor incident and refused to hold any probe into the matter.
Surprisingly, no probe was marked when in February this year, a 52-year-old employee of a private contractor died after inhaling chlorine gas that leaked from a cylinder used for chlorination of water in a tubewell at Mauli Jagran. Family of the victim, Varinder Singh, alleged that he had informed the contractor and the MC officials about the gas leak, but to no avail. A similar incident took place in May 2010 in which eight residents of Mauli Jagran, including two children, were taken ill after inhaling chlorine gas, but the civic body did not bother to look into the matter.
Also, even as it is more than year now since a vigilance inquiry was ordered into the installation of substandard chlorinators, which are lying defunct for the past three years, it seems the Chandigarh civic body has conveniently forgotten about it or is apparently afraid of skeletons tumbling out of its closet, as the report has not been submitted till date.
Speaking to HT, SS Bidda, chief engineer, MC, said, “What is the big deal if gas leaked from cylinders.” He refused to hold any probe into the matter. When asked that why the vigilance report has not been submitted till date, he said, “I do not know about that report.”
HT, in its several reports last year, had highlighted that how the MC is supplying un-chlorinated water in several parts of the city in absence of chlorinators and is playing with the lives of the common man. Following this, even the MC commissioner had formed a committee to look into the allegations. The committee in its report also stated that 60% of the chlorinators are not functional.
HT had also highlighted that chlorinators installed at the said tubewells are not functional for the past three years. Following this, BJP councillor Saurabh Joshi had sought information from the department concerned. In the House meeting in September 2012, MC commissioner Vivek Pratap Singh had promised that a vigilance inquiry will be conducted into the issue, but till date the report has not been submitted.
“It is very unfortunate that the officials are taking the gas leak issue very lightly. It seems they are waiting for some bigger tragedy to happen. I will raise the issue in the coming House meeting and will demand that the responsibility of the official concerned should be fixed,” Joshi said.
On Saturday, the incident occurred when damaged chlorine gas cylinders, loaded in a truck of the municipal corporation (MC), were being taken for disposal. The cylinders started leaking on the road dividing Sectors 15 and 24, after which commuters felt irritation in eyes. The gas cylinders are part of chlorinators used to regulate the gas supply to purify water.
On Saturday, 22 people landed in hospital after chlorine gas leaked on the road dividing Sectors 15 and 24 in Chandigarh.
In February, a 52-year-old employee of a private contractor died after inhaling chlorine gas that leaked at a tubewell in Mauli Jagran. MC refuses to probe it.
In May 2010, eight residents of Mauli Jagran, including two children, were taken ill after chlorine gas leak. MC did not bother to look into the matter.