Vizag gas leak: Affected workers stable, says apparel unit

Some 95 workers fell sick with nausea and vomiting after they inhaled a pungent gas that filled the air at an apparel manufacturing unit in the Brandix Special Economic Zone on Tuesday (August 2) night

gas leak Visakatnam
It was the second such incident in two months after the one on June 3 in the same place where more than 300 women workers fell unconscious after complaining of eyesore, nausea and vomiting | Pic: PTI

Workers who fell sick on Tuesday (August 2) night due to a mysterious gas leak at an apparel manufacturing unit in the Brandix Special Economic Zone at Atchutapuram near Visakhapatnam, were found stable after being treated in different hospitals.

With the state government yet to issue a statement on the incident, the opposition parties lashed out at the government over its alleged failure to prevent such mishaps.

According to the latest count, some 95 workers fell sick with nausea and vomiting after they inhaled a pungent gas that filled the air at the manufacturing unit on Tuesday (August 2) night. They were undergoing treatment in hospitals in Anakapalli, Atchyutapuram and Visakhapatnam.

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It was the second such incident in two months after the one on June 3 in the same place where more than 300 women workers fell unconscious after complaining of eyesore, nausea and vomiting.

The state government, however, has still not made public the report submitted by a team of experts from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Hyderabad on the June 3 gas leak. The report of an official committee, headed by the Anakapalli district Joint Collector, was also not revealed.

On June 3, it was suspected that ammonia gas leaked from a nearby Porus Laboratories unit. A team of experts from the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology in Hyderabad visited the lab and conducted tests to determine the cause of the leak while the AP Pollution Control Board ordered closure of the lab.

The Porus lab was shut down for a few days after the mishap but soon resumed activities. Subsequently, the APPCB as well as the government did not reveal the cause of the incident.

State Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath under whose Anakapalli constituency the Brandix SEZ falls, did not respond to calls for clarification. According to official sources, the minister has asked the district Collector P Ravi Subhash to conduct a detailed inquiry into the incident and submit a report. The Collector visited some hospitals and spoke to the victims about the medicare being provided.

Seeds Intimate Apparel India Private Ltd, where the two incidents occurred, said in a statement that the affected associates were in a stable condition following Tuesday night’s incident.

A few of our associates complained of an unpleasant odour in the atmosphere and as a result some of them were taken to the closest hospital for medical precaution. The affected associates are in a stable condition, Seeds said in a statement. Seeds said the safety and well-being of their associates was of utmost importance to it.

MLC and Telugu Desam Party general secretary Nara Lokesh alleged that the Jagan Mohan Reddy government was not waking up from its deep slumber though such mishaps were occurring repeatedly.

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Two incidents in two months in the Brandix SEZ clearly exposed the failure of the government in taking corrective action. The Chief Minister is turning Visakhapatnam, known as city of destiny, into Visakhapatnam (city of tragedy), Lokesh said in a statement.

BJP state president Somu Veerraju also came down heavily on the state government, saying its gross negligence was glaring. Has the government given up its responsibility of overseeing industrial safety, he questioned.

(With inputs from agencies)

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