Meena Committee fails to find source, nature
IT CAME, it hit; it disappeared. No traces left but for about half an hour of eye and nose burning sensation for 150-odd residents of three villages near the Bhojpur Temple in neighbouring Raisen district.Updated: Nov 17, 2006 15:59 IST
IT CAME, it hit; it disappeared. No traces left but for about half an hour of eye and nose burning sensation for 150-odd residents of three villages near the Bhojpur Temple in neighbouring Raisen district.
The incident nearly a month ago that caused a huge panic among residents and momentarily brought alive the memories of the disastrous Bhopal Gas Tragedy continues to be shrouded in mystery even after the completion of investigations by the one-man enquiry committee of P D Meena – the principal secretary of state housing and environment department.
The detailed report was submitted to the home department on Wednesday. While confirming to Hindustan Times that the report had been submitted, Meena refused to divulge the contents saying that the report was confidential.
However, sources in the department said that the investigations yielded nothing about the source or nature of the gas that had affected the villagers of Mendua, Kiratpur and Nayapura on the evening of October 14.
The enquiry committee is said to have drawn a conclusion that the culprit might have been some tanker (probably carrying some chemicals) in transit that might have leaked and caused temporary problem in the nearby villages. However, no substantial evidence of this conclusion has been put forth in the reports, the sources said.
The committee talked to the affected villagers, visited the nearby industries and studied the various technical reports submitted by the MP Pollution Control Board (MPPCB) and the Directorate of Industrial Health and Safety. However, the gas that hit the villagers remained unidentified and the source untraceable.
That the incident of residents suffering from burning sensation in eyes and nose en masse on October 14 evening was owing to a gas was evident from the medical symptoms of the sufferers. But the fact that none of the air samples collected by the MPPCB about two hours after the incident revealed practically no traces of any known gas (including tear gas) that could have caused the burning sensation, brought the investigations to practically a standstill.
The Directorate of Industrial Health and Safety’s detailed investigations at the industrial units in nearby Mandideep and the MPPCB’s inspection of the Rapid Action Force camp near the affected villages also turned up nothing. There had been a speculation that teargas (which causes symptoms similar to those noticed in villagers) might have leaked from the RAF camp or they might have destroyed some shells causing the gas to flow in the air.
However, the in charge of the camp had vehemently denied any such incident and the MPPCB had also found nothing to corroborate the speculation.
MPPCB sources had mentioned that the gas had been too little to remain present in the air two hours after the incident and thus there was no way to identify it by laboratory methods.
First Published: Nov 17, 2006 15:59 IST