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Acid leak: CPI calls for insurance scheme to local residents

9 March 2011

Special Correspondent
The Hindu

CUDDALORE: Deriving a lesson from the acid-leak-induced fumes in the Shasun Chemicals and Drugs Ltd. on the SIPCOT Industrial Estate near here that harmed several local residents on Monday night, the authorities should take appropriate safety measures, according to M. Sekar, in-charge district secretary of the Communist Party of India.

In a statement released here today, Mr. Sekar stated that it was ironical that though mock drills on disaster management measures were conducted on the industrial estate last year, with a view to improve the reaction time to exigencies, the official machinery took about three hours to bring a semblance of control in the unit.

Mr. Sekar observed that due to mishandling of the bottles containing bromine, the acid leaked, spewing out dense fumes.

Moreover, the official machinery did not seem to have the right technology to deal with such chemical hazards.

The CPI leader appealed to the District Collector P. Seetharaman to launch the People's Liability Insurance Scheme, as was in vogue in certain States, so as to provide adequate relief to the affected people.

He also called for stringent action against the unit whose alleged lapses in the handling of chemicals had caused a life threatening situation.

General Secretary of the Consumer Federation-Tamil Nadu M. Nizamudeen also called for the implementation of the liability insurance scheme, besides taking appropriate safety measures. Quoting the local residents he said that the alarm meant for alerting the people during emergency was not sounded, and the officials took a long time to react.

As in the case of the Shasun Chemicals and Drugs Ltd. that kept the idle storage of bromine, there were also stocks of chemical wastes on the campuses of other units in the industrial estate.

These uncleared stocks would pose imminent threat to the safety and security of the people. Mr. Nizamudeen pointed out that there were occasions when the chemical wastes were transported and dumped near habitations in an unscientific manner. He called upon the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board officials to keep a tab on the unused and unnecessary stocks of chemicals in the industrial estate and make arrangement for their safe clearance.

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