Gas leak at Shasun Chemicals injures more than 65 persons; Angry residents block road, demand closure of the Unit
Cuddalore, 7/8 March 2011: More than 65 residents of Kudikadu Colony were hospitalized after a massive gas leak from Shasun Chemicals today. According to the SACEM monitors, the incident took place at about 10 pm inside the Shasun Drugs and Chemicals unit in SIPCOT Cudddalore. The source of the leak is attributed to the Bromine storage near the HEP-MC plant in the southern side of the factory premises. It was about 11 pm when the residents from Kudikadu village, Kudikadu Colony and Eachangadu village started reporting severe health complaints such as giddiness, vomiting, respiratory problems, eyes and throat burning. According to the monitors who rushed to the spot after receiving the news around 11.30 pm, the entire unit and the Kudikadu village was engulfed with thick white smoke. There were no alarms or safety announcement made by the unit which caused more panic and confusion as people were at loss on how to protect themselves. Monitors report that it has been more than 3 hours since the leak had started and it has still not been plugged.
According to the local residents, police were the first ones to respond to the situation, more than 20 police personnel rushed to the villages at around midnight. The District Environment Engineer of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board and the Factories Inspector reached the spot at about 12.30 am (an hour and half after the locals alerted about the leak). More than 3 fire engines have been called inside the unit to control the situations. At about 1 am, the District Administration brought in 3 buses from the transport department to evacuate the residents from the villages to Cuddalore Municipal School in Cuddalore New Town.
More than 1000 angry residents from the Kudikadu village, Kudikadu colony and Eachagadu villages have blocked the East Coast Road and the entrance to the Shasun Chemicals. Residents are demanding an immediate closure of the unit and prosecution of all members responsible for today’s disaster. Responding to the demands of the residents, the District Revenue Officer has temporarily sealed one gate of the unit and has called for a meeting later in the day.
More updates soon.