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Pondicherry: 300 hospitalised after chlorine gas leak

January 27, 2011

Indo-Asian News Service via NDTV

Chennai: At least 300 people living near Chemfab Alkalis Limited's plant in Pondicherry were hospitalised on Wednesday after a chlorine gas leak from the factory affected them, an official said.

"None of the people admitted is in a serious condition. Till afternoon, only around 70 people were admitted. But after 12.30 pm, the number of people being admitted has increased. Now, there are around 300 people. We will review their condition and discharge around 250 of them later today," medical superintendent of Indira Gandhi Government Hospital said.

The Union Territory's administration has ordered immediate closure of the factory.

"Around 7.30 am, workers in the factory were filling chlorine gas in 900-kg cylinders. One of the cylinders leaked and the wind carried the gas to the nearby village, where the people complained of nausea and discomfort," Pondicherry district collector Rakesh Chandra said.

According to him, none of the 300 workers in the Chemfab factory was affected as the wind blew the leaked gas away.

The Rs. 87.29 crore turnover Chemfab Alkali makes caustic soda lyke, liquid chlorine, hydrochloric acid, sodium hypochlorite, hydrogen gas and barium sulphate.

The Pondicherry administration put the number of people admitted to the hospital at 30, of whom three have been discharged.

According to officials in the Kalapet police station, around 70 people have been admitted to the hospital.

According to Chandra, an ex-gratia amount may be announced by the administration Thursday.

"The relief for the suffering has to be claimed as per the procedure laid in the Industries Act," he added.

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