Delhi gas leak: AIIMS team says Tughlakabad container depot a ticking bomb | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Delhi gas leak: AIIMS team says Tughlakabad container depot a ticking bomb

Emergency calls were received by the Fire department around 7.35am about leakage of chloro methyl pyridine from the container depot on Saturday. The chemical that is used in fertilizers, insecticides and certain drugs, is a known eye and respiratory irritant.

delhi Updated: May 08, 2017 12:14 IST
Rhythma Kaul
gas leak
School students being bought to the Emergency ward of Hakeem Abdul Hameed Centenary Hospital. Several students were hospitalised after a gas leak at the container depot in Tughlakabad. (Saumya Khandelwal/HT Photo)

The expert team from Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) that inspected Saturday’s gas leak spot in Tughlakabad area, says the residents of the area are “sitting on a (ticking) bomb”.

“We visited the container yard and the nearby areas and found it to be a heavily populated area. Those living there are sitting on a bomb, with such chemicals being handled in the vicinity,” Dr YK Gupta, head of pharmacology department, AIIMS, told HT.

Dr Gupta heads the five-member expert team that Union health minister JP Nadda created to manage the impact, soon after the gas leak was reported.

Emergency calls were received by the Fire department around 7.35am about leaking chloro methyl pyridine from a container depot in the locality on Saturday. The chemical that is used in fertilizers, insecticides and certain drugs, is a known eye and respiratory irritant.

At least 200 girls, who were exposed to the chemical because their school was close to the spot, were rushed to different hospitals. Most were discharged after a few hours, only a few were kept in the hospital under observation.

“It may have been a secluded area at some point, which is why they created the yard there but now it’s advisable to move the yard to some other place as these kind of substances should not be handled in such thickly populated areas,” says Dr Gupta.

Since the area is exposed to all sorts of chemicals because of the yard, experts say it would not be a bad idea to get the water and air quality of the area checked.

“This chemical is toxic in nature but not fatal unless consumed in a very high dose. It is a hygroscopic substance that tends to absorb moisture from the air, liquefies and generates fumes. Unlike gases, fumes have a limited spread, which is why the effect in this case was localized,” says Dr Gupta.

Though the substance is not known to have any long-term adverse health impact after acute exposure of such mild nature, the expert team of AIIMS will again visit the spot either on Monday or Tuesday.

“It is just as a measure of abundant caution that we will visit the spot again. Also, we still have beds earmarked for people who develop any complications, even though it’s highly unlikely,” says Dr Gupta.