Minors among 59 sick after gas leak in Aligarh meat factory
“The incident took place around 10 am. Prima facie, it seems that a breakage in the liquid ammonia pipeline and the evaporation of ammonia led to 59 workers losing consciousness. We searched the factory premises to ensure that no other worker is left behind,” the DM said.
At least 59 workers at a packaging unit of a private meat factory in Uttar Pradesh’s Aligarh fell ill after an alleged leakage of ammonia gas, officials said on Thursday, adding six people were arrested in connection with the case.
The affected workers, mostly women and minors, were shifted to the emergency ward of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Aligarh, they added.
Soon after the incident, Aligarh district magistrate (DM) Indra Vikram Singh and senior superintendent of police (SSP), Aligarh, Kalanidhi Naithani, rushed to the spot.
“All those affected are now stable and have gained consciousness. Technical teams from the industry department and the pollution control board also reached the factory premises and took preventive measures. They will ascertain if the leakage took place due to negligence or a technical fault,” the DM said.
“The incident took place around 10 am. Prima facie, it seems that a breakage in the liquid ammonia pipeline and the evaporation of ammonia led to 59 workers losing consciousness. We searched the factory premises to ensure that no other worker is left behind,” he added.
District police registered a case against seven people, including the factory owner, for negligence and lack of technical supervision and maintenance. “While six out of the seven have been arrested, the factor owner Haji Zaheer is absconding,” police said.
The accused have been booked under sections 202 (intentional omission to give information of offence by person bound to inform), 268 (public nuisance), 269 (negligent act likely to spread infection of disease dangerous to life), 278 (making atmosphere noxious to health), 284 (negligent conduct with respect to poisonous substance), 287 (negligent conduct with respect to machinery) and 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) of the Indian Penal Code.
They have also been booked under section 3/14 of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act of 1986, and relevant sections of the Juvenile Justice Act as minors were also working in the factory, police said.
“Teams constituted to inspect the spot found negligence and lack of technical supervision and maintenance. Besides, the factory owner didn’t even inform authorities of the incident and is currently absconding. Further probe is underway. The guilty will not be spared,” said SSP Naithani.