RNS: At least 11 people, including two children, died while over 1,000 fell sick after gas leaked from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam in the wee hours of Thursday which quickly spread to villages in a five-kilometre radius.
Toxic styrene gas escaped from an LG Polymers plant at around 2.30 am at RR Venkatapuram village near Visakhapatnam which had been shut for over 40 days due to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, Chief Minister Andhra Pradesh announced ex-gratia of Rs 1 crore each to the families of the deceased and set up a high-level committee to look into the incident.
Reddy later visited Visakhapatnam’s King George Hospital where several people are undergoing treatment.
“The gas leakage is now under control, but the leaked gas can cause nausea and dizziness, so we are investing every effort to ensure proper treatment is provided swiftly,” LG Chem said in a statement.
The firm is looking into what caused the leak of styrene monomer gas, which is used for producing plastic.
“We are investigating the extent of damage and the exact cause of the leak and deaths,” it added in a statement.
According to the media reports, around 500 kg of chemicals were airlifted from Gujarat and sent to Visakhapatnam to neutralise the impact of hazardous gas Styrene that leaked at the plant in the early hours claiming more than half a dozen lives.
Due to the lockdown, officials at LG Polymers Private Ltd, where the gas leak took place, requested the government authorities to arrange a chemical called 4-Teritiary Butylcatchol (PTBC), available with a chemical factory in Gujarat that would help in containing the reaction at an early stage.
“The matter was discussed in the Home Ministry and within 20 minutes, the chemical was arranged and dispatched from the Daman airport to Visakhapatnam,” a senior government official said.
Meanwhile, a bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted a committee and rushed to investigate the incident on Friday.