• Thursday, November 30, 2023


Gas leak in India’s Punjab kills 11 people

A team from the National Disaster Response Force was at the site along with a team of experts

Members of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) wear protective gear at the site of a gas leak in Ludhiana in the northern state of Punjab, India, April 30, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer

By: Pramod Thomas

ELEVEN people died and nine were hospitalised after a gas leak in Ludhiana in the northern Indian state of Punjab, a state lawmaker said on Sunday (30).

A team from the National Disaster Response Force was at the site along with a team of experts to determine the cause and source of the leak, said Rajinder Pal Kaur Chhina, a member of legislative assembly in Ludhiana.

Police officials were seen patrolling wearing masks and asking locals to keep out of a cordoned area, according to ANI news agency’s video feed on Twitter.

“The incident happened near a milk shop and a doctor’s clinic although we cannot say for sure where the leak began,” Chhina said.

“People who came to buy milk in the morning, fell unconscious outside,” she said.

Three bodies had “turned blue,” local resident Anjan Kumar said in ANI’s video feed on Twitter.

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann expressed deep sorrow and anguish at the gas leakage.

“The incident of a gas leak in the factory in the Giaspura area of Ludhiana is very sad. Police, government and NDRF teams are present at the spot. All possible help is being extended to the affected. Rest details soon,” Mann tweeted.

NDRF teams have been rushed to the factory and a team of doctors and a fire brigade also reached the spot.

“Definitely, it is a gas leak case. The NDRF team is present at the spot to evacuate the people and will conduct the rescue operation,” said Swati, SDM Ludhiana West.

“Exact reason will only come when we will go to the incident spot. We are waiting for the NDRF, they are specialised in this,” another officer said.

Further investigation is underway.

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, broadcaster 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 over 500 were hospitalised with symptoms of severe respiratory distress and skin and eye irritation.


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