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Gas leak at Chemplast Plant III ; 14 people injured

Mettur, 31 January 2010: A gas leak was reported from Plant III of Chemplast Sanmar in Mettur at about 1 pm yesterday. According to the sources about 9 adults, 5 children, including one 11 month old baby, from Karungakaradu block located behind Plant III were taken to the General Hospital after being exposed to the gas. People reported symptoms of nausea, eye burning and vomiting. The leak lasted about 20 minutes, after nearly ten minutes during which the areas near the factory were shaken by a rumbling disturbance akin to an earthquake. The leak started as a cloud of white smoke that travelled up, followed by the release of a black smoke for about 20 minutes. While there is no official confirmation on the nature of the gas, based on the exposure symptoms local residents suspect it to be Chlorine gas. Conditions of all injured are reported to be stable, while 13 persons were released from the hospital yesterday evening, one person is still said to be hospitalised.

A report released by Community Environmental Monitoring during the company's annual shareholders' meeting in 2009 documents at least 21 hazardous incidents at Chemplast between 2004 and 2009, injuring 51 persons and killing three people, damaging property and resulting in massive fish kills. This points to a poor safety culture that could result in more and larger incidents that could impose a heavy liability on the company. Just in 2008-2009, the company witnessed 7 hazardous incidents, including four major gas leaks, altogether resulting in one death and the hospitalisation of 18 people. Download report here: www.sipcotcuddalore.com/downloads/AGM_report_2009.pdf

Injured persons have also filed a First Information Report (FIR) at the Tharamalaikudal police station. Members of Gonur West Agriculture Development Union have lodged complaints about the incident with the local offices of the district administration, TNPCB and Factories Inspectorate. While the members of district administration ? District Revenue Officer, Tehsildar, Deputy Superintendent of Police, visited the injured at the hospital yesterday, the TNPCB visited the site of the accident for investigation about 24 hours after the complaint was filed.

The injured include:
K. Bhoopalan, 44, Male
P. Mani, 55, Male
A. Suseela, 35, Female
A. Shyamala, 32, Female
R. Maheshwari, 26, Female
C. Pasupathi, 55, Male
R. Yavindra, 11 months, Male
A. Ashya Arvind, 13, Male
B. Naveen, 11, Male
V. Sivasubramani, 35, Male
A. Nandini, 17, Female
S. Priyanka, 14, Female
K. Raman, 50, Male

   
   
   
   
   
   
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