Two dead, four fall sick after gas leak at Vizag pharma company

Two persons died and four were taken ill after inhaling benzimidazole vapours, which leaked at the Sainor Life Sciences Private Limited at JN Pharma City in Parawada, about 40 km from the city, on Monday. The incident reportedly occurred around 11.30 p.m., said Commissioner of Police R.K. Meena.

The deceased have been identified as shift operators Narendra and Gowri Shankar. The four persons who fell sick were shifted to a private hospital and the condition of one of them is said to be critical.

Also read: Visakhapatnam gas leak | How negligence and violations led to a deadly disaster

Vizag District Collector V. Vinay Chand, Commissioner of Police R.K. Meena and officials from the Fire Service and Factories department rushed to the pharma company.

Mr. Meena told The Hindu 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.

This is the second incident in the company. In September 2015, two workers were charred to death and five others were injured in a reactor blast.

This incident comes close on the heels of LG Polymers styrene monomer vapour leak incident on May 7, in which 12 died and hundreds fell sick.

CM speaks to officials

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday enquired about the Vizag gas leakage. The officials told him that two persons died on the way to hospital, while four others were undergoing treatment. One of them was on a ventilator, while three others were safe, the officials said.

The officials informed him that the accident took place due to a leak near the reactor at 11.30 p.m. on Monday. The Visakhapatnam District Collector and the Commissioner of Police reached the spot immediately. The factory was shut down as a precautionary measure. The impact was limited to the reactor wing of the factory, they told the Chief Minister.

Naidu expresses concern

Meanwhile, the Telugu Desam Party national president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu expressed his concern over the incident and sympathies to the victims’ families. It was unfortunate that Parawada gas leakage incident took place even while the LG polymers accident was still afresh in the minds of people. He urged the government to provide the best medical care to the victims.

Expressing condolences to the bereaved families, the Communist Party of India (CPI) State secretary K. Ramakrishna demanded that ₹1 crore compensation be paid to the families of the victims.

(With inputs from GVR Subba Rao in Vijayawada)

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