40 taken ill after chlorine gas leak in Orissa
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Last Updated: Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:03
  
Berhampur: Over 40 people, including women and children, were taken ill and some of them fell unconscious after chlorine gas leaked from a cylinder of water supply department today, officials said here.

The affected persons included school children, women, government officials and media persons, they said.

The cylinder, belonging to water supply department of Paralakhemundi in Gajapati district was kept here for filling.

Chlorine gas is used to purify water inside tanks.

"We suspect that a small quantity of gas left in the 900-litre capacity cylinder, brought for filling, leaked when someone tried to fiddle with its brass nozzle," executive engineer, urban drinking water supply department, D S Mohapatra said here.

Panic gripped the area after the gas spread over a radius of about 200 meters and plants in the area turned yellowish after being exposed to it.

The affected people complained of nausea and vomiting while several fell unconscious. They were admitted to MKCG Medical College and Hospital here.

While some were discharged after first aid, several others are undergoing treatment. Their condition is stable, hospital superintendent J K Behera said.

My head was reeling, when I tried to lock the cylinder," a department employee Debaraj Kothia said.

Maguni Behera, a constable of the fire station here, said he also felt similar when he tried to spray water. Many panic-stricken people were spotted leaving their localities after the gas leaked. District administration also ordered closure of schools in nearby areas.

"Although spread of the gas subsided, we ordered for the closure of schools in nearby areas as a precautionary measure," said sub-collector (Berhampur) Ajit Mishra.

He said there was no cause of panic as the administration has taken immediate steps to tackle it.

Fire personnel were also engaged to spray water in the area, while personnel of the gas supplying company reached the spot to take the cylinder away, he added.

Meanwhile, Gopalpur MLA Pradip Panigrahi demanded a high-level inquiry to ascertain the cause of the gas leak.

PTI


First Published: Monday, June 21, 2010, 22:03


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