India

300 fall sick after gas leak, company shut

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chennai
  • |
  • Updated: Jan 26, 2011 11:54 IST

The Puducherry government on Wednesday ordered the closure of a chemicals company after a gas leak from its factory on the outskirts of the city made about 300 people ill.

The sick were admitted to the Indira Gandhi government hospital in the city for nausea, breathlessness and irritation.

Chemfab Alkalies Ltd will remain closed until an enquiry is done. No company official was available for comment. Puducherry home minister E Valsaraj, who also holds the commerce and industry portfolio, confirmed the closure.

Surprisingly, none of the workers in the factory was affected by the leak. Medical superintendent V Govindaraj told Hindustan Times on the phone from Puducherry: "None of the persons admitted is in a serious condition. Till noon around 70 people were admitted. But after 12.30 p.m. the number of people coming for admission increased to 300. But by evening there were just 100, and they will be discharged after a review of their conditions."

Sources said the workers were filling chlorine gas in 900-kg cylinders at around 8 a.m. when one of them leaked. The fumes spread to a nearby village.

 

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