Seven workers fell ill, three of them seriously, after inhaling poisonous gas at a paper mill in Chhattisgarh’s Raigarh district, police said on Thursday (May 7).
The incident occurred at Shakti Paper Mill in Tetla village, where the victims were cleaning a recycling chamber on Wednesday evening, Raigarh superintendent of police Santosh Singh told PTI.
However, the factory owner did not inform the administration about the incident, which came to light after the hospital authorities alerted the police on Thursday, he said.
The mill, located around 250km from state capital Raipur, had remained shut ever since the COVID-19 lockdown was enforced in late March and the cleaning work was underway to resume operations, the official said.
The affected workers were admitted to Sanjeevani Hospital in Raigarh, from where three of them were shifted to Raipur in view of their critical condition, he said.
Prima facie, it seems some toxic gas got generated in the recycling chamber (an open tank) from waste materials left in the chamber, he said.
However, a team of forensic experts was dispatched to the spot to investigate the exact cause of the incident, Singh said.
Raigarh Collector Yashwant Kumar and the SP visited Sanjeevani Hospital to enquire about the condition of the ill workers, a government official here said.
The collector has assured the relatives of the victims that they will be provided the best possible medical treatment, he added.
Four of the workers, Purandhan Kumar (21), Anil Kumar (22), Nimani Bhoy (40) and Ranjeet Singh (34), were undergoing treatment at the hospital in Raigarh, the official said.
The three others, Dolamani Sidar (35), Surendra Gupta (28) and Apdhar Malakar (40), were shifted to Raipur, he added.