Around 3,000 villagers of Katai and adjoining villages in Bhiwandi had to be evacuated on Thursday afternoon following a chlorine gas leak.
Officials of the disaster management cell said the gas had leaked from a cylinder, lying unused since 25 years, inside the premises of the Bhiwandi-Nizampur Municipal Corporation’s sewerage pumping station and dumping ground.
“We received a call around 12 pm and rushed to the spot. The cylinder contained 900 kg of chlorine gas, of which 400 kg had leaked,” said Sudhesh Punyarthi, head of the cell.
Eight villagers, who complained of irritation in their eyes, noses and throats, were admitted to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Bhiwandi.
“Two even had bleeding noses. Their condition is stable,” said chief medical officer Dr K.V. Kharat.
Maharashtra Jeevan Pradhikaran, a state body which promotes potable water supply and sanitation facilites, had given the cylinder to the corporation 25 years ago. But the cylinder had been lying unused as the sewerage project had fallen through.
“We have closed the cylinder and plan to shift it to Century Rayon’s factory at Shahad. The villagers have been asked to return to home,” said Punyarthi.