Environment

Over 300 Students Hospitalised After Chemical Leak in Delhi

Nearly 300 girls were hospitalised after they complained of irritation in eyes due to gas leakage from a container depot near their school in southeast Delhi’s Tughlakabad area. Credit: PTI

New Delhi: Over 300 female students were hospitalised on Saturday, May 6, after toxic fumes spread due to a chemical leakage at a container depot near two schools in southeast Delhi’s Tughlakabad area.

The students of Rani Jhansi School and Government Girls Senior Secondary School, run by the city administration, were rushed to nearby hospitals after they complained of irritation in the eyes and breathlessness.

It remains unclear what the leaked substance is.

The Delhi government has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident. Police has registered an FIR in the matter under various sections of IPC and the Environment (Protection) Act.

Union minister J.P. Nadda has instructed all Centre-run hospitals to be ready to help the victims. A team of doctors from AIIMS has been put on stand-by to cater to any emergency.

A senior doctor at Batra hospital, where 55 children in the age group of 10-14 years were admitted, said that their condition was stable.

According to the police, a call was received at 7:35 am about a chemical leakage at the customs area of Tughlakabad depot, which is located near the schools.

The chemical in the container was imported from China and was to be taken to Sonepat in Haryana, the police said.

Following the incident, teams of the police and the National Disaster Response Force as well as Centralised Accident and Trauma Services ambulances reached the spot

“Some chemical leakage at customs area of Tughlakabad depot has caused eye irritation to the girl students in Rani Jhansi school,” DCP (southeast) Romil Baaniya said.

According to police, 310 students have received treatment in hospitals.

As many as 107 students have been admitted in Majithia Hospital and 62 in Batra Hospital.

Some children had mild breathing difficulty, irritation in their eyes and mild headaches, the doctor at Batra Hospital said. Two children who had come in with complaints of breathing difficulty were admitted into the paediatric ICU.

“The condition of all the children, including those admitted in the ICU, is stable. They are currently under observation and they are likely to be discharged in three to four hours,” said the doctor.

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said that he has ordered the area district magistrate and the sub-divisional magistrate to launch a probe into the incident.

“There was an exam in the school which we have cancelled following the incident,” he said.

Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, said that he spoke to doctors who told him that all the students were doing fine and were under observation

Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal and opposition leader of the Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta visited the victims at ESI Hospital and enquired about their condition.

Hitting out at the Delhi government, Gupta sought a high-level probe into the incident.

Gupta said it is “negligence” on the part of school authorities. At the time of opening the school there were signs of gas leakage. “Why didn’t the school authorities stop the students from entering the school?” he tweeted.

The chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women, Swati Maliwal, met the children admitted in the Batra hospital and demanded shifting of the container depot.

“V sad. It is a man made disaster as no need for Container Depot to be in centre of Delhi. Shud b imm shifted, accountability fixed for gas leak,” she tweeted.

Apollo Hospital authorities said that the condition of the 42 children admitted there, as well as an adult, was stable.

“Therapeutic interventions as per clinical requirements were administered to them. Currently, all patients are in a stable condition,” the hospital said in a statement.