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Vizag: Gas Leak at Pharma Plant Leaves Two Dead

Two dead due to a benzene gas leaked at a pharmaceutical company at Parawada on Tuesday morning.

NewDelhi: Two people were killed and four others were taken ill after benzene gas leaked at the Sainor Life Sciences Private Limited at JN Pharma City in Parawada near Visakhapatnam early on Tuesday morning, official sources said.

The situation is now under control as the leak was restricted to one unit in the pharmaceutical company, the sources said. The two killed were senior employees of the company, they said. A report in The Hindu has identified the deceased as shift operators Narendra and Gowri Shankar. It took a while before the other workers found them gasping for breath and they died on the way to the hospital.

Four persons who had fallen sick have been shifted to a private hospital in Gajuwaka, with one of them being put on ventilator support.

District Collector V. Vinay Chand and Police Commissioner R.K. Meena visited the company to take stock of the situation. Speaking to The Hindu Meena said that the leak had been brought under control and cases were being booked against the company. “We are also investigating the cause of the leak”, he said.

The cause of the leak that took place in a reactor unit at the plant is yet to be established.

The collector said the pharma unit has been temporarily shut down as a precautionary measure. He said there was no need for any panic and the leak was confined to only one unit. Chand has also constituted a four-member team of officials, led by the Joint Collector, to investigate the cause of the mishap.

Also read: Vizag Gas Leak: Why the NGT Should Have Applied Absolute, Not Strict, Liability

Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has since sought additional information about the incident. “The accident is confined to a department in which there is a reactor. There is no need to panic. The district collector has ordered an inquiry into the matter,” read the statement by the chief minister’s office.

The collector reportedly briefed Reddy about the incident and the latter directed that better medicare be provided to the sick workers admitted to hospital.

Former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu also extended his condolences to the families of the bereaved families and requested the government to aid the families of the deceased.

Local MLA A Adeep Raj visited the accident spot and blamed negligence on part of the company management for the tragedy. He said there was a similar incident in the same plant a few years ago where three workers were killed.

Previously, in September 2015, two workers were charred to death and five others were injured in a reactor blast.

The incident comes nearly two months after 11 people were killed and over 1000 taken ill after a gas leak at a polymer plant in Visakhapatnam on May 7 impacted villages in a five-km radius.

Hours after the styrene gas leak from the multinational LG Polymers Plant at R R Venkatapuram village near here, scores of people could be seen lying unconscious on sidewalks, near ditches and on the road. The National Green Tribunal has since held that that the South Korean company has absolute liability for the loss of life and public health in the incident at its plant and directed that an interim penalty of Rs 50 crore be spent on compensation to the victims and the restoration of the environment.

(With inputs from PTI)