Jharkhand chief minister blames Telco management for gas leak (Lead)

May 28th, 2008 - 6:12 pm ICT by admin  

Ranchi May 28 (IANS) Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda Wednesday accused the management of the Telco plant in steel city Jamshedpur of being negligent and causing the leakage of chlorine gas that led to the hospitalisation of about 150 people with breathing problems. The gas started leaking from the water purifying unit of the Telco plant, run by the Tata Group, at about 11 a.m. Tuesday. By evening, residents started having respiratory problems and vomiting since the density of the gas had increased.

R.K. Agrawal, deputy police commissioner of Jamshedpur, said: “Nearly 100 people were hospitalised after complaining of respiratory problems. Some people have been kept on oxygen.”

The chief minister said: “The chlorine gas leaked from an abandoned cylinder kept on the premises of the plant for last 10 years. The cylinder got rusted. The Telco management should have removed the cylinder when it was abandoned.”

“I have directed officials to lodge an FIR (first information report) in the gas leakage incident and take suitable action against those found responsible for the negligence,” Koda said after visiting the people affected by the leak.

Jamshedpur Lok Sabha MP Suman Mahto and locals have also blamed Telco for the gas leak.

“The Telco management is solely responsible for the gas leak. The leakage began in the morning and the management could have controlled it but they neglected it,” said Aneeta Devi, a resident of the Telco area of Jamshedpur.

Telco has, however, refuted the allegations.

“We came to know about the gas leakage at 11 a.m. itself. We were pouring water on the cylinder to neutralize the leakage. Chlorine is neutralized by the use of water. When the gas was not neutralized, we dumped the cylinder in a back wash pond at the suggestion of experts,” a Telco spokesperson said.

“Now only 24 people are in the hospital and most of them will be discharged today,” he added.

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