METTUR, 06.08.2011 About twenty people suffered from breathing difficulty, stomach swelling and burning of the eyes following a gas leak from Plant I of Chemplast Sanmar in Mettur R.S. on 06.08.2011 at 7.00 P.M. The gas leak which was seen as a white cloud of smoke lasted till 8.30 P.M. and the shops around the factory shut at 8.00 P.M. as panic set in among shop keepers. Nearly ten shop keepers approached the Security of Chemplast Sanmar who is then said to have contacted a Senior Officer in Chemplast Sanmar Plant I. Following instructions from the senior officer, the security activated a water spray to alleviate the gas leak. According to Ganesh kumar, a member of Mettur Padhukaappu Iyakkam, who enquired into the incident, the company’s security attributed the gas leak to an accidental opening of the lid of a full Hydrochloric Acid tanker when the tanker applied the brakes.
The incident was first reported by Mr. Sukumaran, a owner of a shop named Chandrasekhar Stores, to members of Mettur Pathukaapu Iyakkam (MPI). MPI activist R. Ganesan attempted to file a police complaint at the Karumalaikoodal Police Station. However, the Inspector Mr. Nataraj refused to register a complaint. A letter was sent to the District Collector, Salem reporting the accident. Plant I of Chemplast Sanmar is operating without a Consent to Operate.