An official reported that the latest fatal industrial mishap in India, a massive developing economy with 1.4 billion inhabitants, claimed the lives of 11 persons on Sunday due to a gas leak.
The gas leak occurred in Giaspura, a commercial district of Ludhiana in Punjab’s northern state.
According to Mandeep Singh Sidhu, the police commissioner of Ludhiana, “eleven deaths are confirmed,” and he also mentioned that four persons were taken to the hospital.
According to Sidhu, the reason of the leak has not yet been determined.
“We will only be able to tell you the precise cause, which kind of gas, when the blood sample is matched with the sample that the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team takes,” the police commissioner stated.
Five women were among those who died, broadcaster NDTV reported.
The six other victims included two boys aged 10 and 13, the report added.
Industrial gas leaks blamed on poor safety standards and insufficient checks are common in India.
Last August, at least 112 women were hospitalised after a gas leak at an apparel manufacturing plant in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
That followed a similar accident in June when around 200 women fell unconscious after a gas leak in the same area, NDTV reported.
In 2020, at least 15 people were killed and hundreds hospitalised after a gas leak at a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam, an industrial port city in the same state.
Nearly 1,000 people were exposed to the gas and more than 500 were hospitalised with symptoms of severe respiratory distress and skin and eye irritation.
Residents were found slumped in the streets after being exposed to the gas, forcing a large-scale evacuation around the plant.
A government report accused the plant’s owner LG Polymers, a subsidiary of South Korea’s LG Chem, of negligence and said the disaster was due to a lack of safety protocols and poor emergency response.
Two senior South Korean executives and 10 other local employees were arrested and charged with offences, including the Indian legal equivalent of manslaughter.
That incident sparked memories of one of India’s worst industrial disasters.
In 1984, gas leaked from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, a city in central India.
At least 3,500 people living around the plant operated by Union Carbide died in the days that followed the leak. People continue to suffer the effects to this day.
Children are still born disfigured, with webbed feet and hands, and experience stunted growth because of the gas that affected their mothers.
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