300 taken ill after tanker discharges effluents into nullah in Thane district | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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300 taken ill after tanker discharges effluents into nullah in Thane district

More than 300 people were taken ill with complaints of uneasiness, vomiting, fainting and breathing difficulties after a tanker discharged effluents into a nullah Ambernath MIDC in Thane district on Saturday.

mumbai Updated: Nov 30, 2014 02:32 IST
Sajana Nambiar
Ulhasnagar gas leak

More than 300 people were taken ill with complaints of uneasiness, vomiting, fainting, breathing difficulties and headache after a tanker discharged effluents into a nullah near Vadol village in Ambernath MIDC in the early hours of Saturday.

Following check-ups, more than 50 people were admitted to Ulhasnagar’s Central Hospital.


Fire brigade officers spray water in the nullah after a tanker discharged effluents into it, near Ulhasnagar. (Rishikesh Choudhary/HT photo)

At around 3am on Saturday, fumes from the effluents caused several residents in Ulhasnagar No 3, Ramesh Nagar, Ashok Nagar, Sita Nagar, Renuka Society and Ayodhya Nagar to faint or feel uneasy.

“Every night, a foul smell emanates from the nullah after tankers discharge some effluents in it. This time, the smell was so strong that some residents fell ill,” said Shriprasad Pun, 34, a resident of Vadol village. “I left for work around 9am after having breakfast with my wife. Later, I got a call saying she had fainted. I took her to the hospital.”

The residents have been complaining about the foul smell on a daily basis. "Tankers from other states come here to discharge effluents into the nullahs and this has been happening since years. Things which are banned in other places are discharged here just because we don't have a strong body to take stringent action. People could be killed due to this, it's God's grace that people survived this tragedy. I hope the authorities will wake up and find some solution for this," said Madhukar Panchal, a resident.

After several such cases were reported, panic spread in the area, leading residents to temporarily evacuate. A team of doctors from Central Hospital reached the affected areas and started checking on patients. “All of them are out of danger as they left the polluted area in time,” said Ratna Raokhande, deputy director of Central Hospital.

Few patients were admitted to other hospitals near Ulhasnagar. The Central Hospital, playing a major role, looked after the patients by sending ambulances and team of doctors on time.

Poonam Soni, who was admitted along with her five-month-old baby, said, "My baby, Ayush, suddenly stopped breathing for a while and I got worried. Even I was suffering from vomiting at around 4am in the morning. I took my baby to the hospital. Anything could have happened to him if he was not treated on time."

The incident was reported at Ambernath police station as well as at Central police station in Ulhasnagar.


Residents in Ulhasnagar had to undergo medical tests as they complained of uneasiness. (Rishikesh Choudhary/HT photo)


The Ambernath police have tracked down the details of the tanker which had discharged the effluents and are now trying to locate the tanker’s owner.

The Kalyan division of the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board has taken samples from the nullah and are investigating what kind of chemical was discharged into the water. "The chemicals are not discharged by companies in Ambernath. It is done by a tanker which belongs to an area outside Kalyan. We have collected the samples from two places. We will help the police in the investigation and we shall also start night patrolling in these areas to keep a watch on such tankers" MPCB sub-regional officer Nitin Shinde informed.

PI Balkrishna Wagh, investigation officer said, “We have got the registration number of the tanker - MH 43E 1336. We are trying to find out more details. Once the owner of the tanker is traced, we will take due action.”



Residents in Ulhasnagar had to undergo medical tests as they complained of uneasiness. (Rishikesh Choudhary/HT photo)

HOW IT UNFOLDED
* In the early hours of Saturday, a tanker discharged effluents in a nullah near Vadol village in Ambernath MIDC

* Between 3am and 5am, residents in nearby areas began feeling queasy. Some of them even fainted

* Residents have complained about the foul smell emanating from tanker discharges for years. However, this is the first time that people have fallen ill because of the fumes

* A fire department team said it had managed to wash out most of the effluent from the nullah by the evening