Around 70 people rushed to a hospital after complaining of dizziness and headache following a gas leak at a godown in Belur, Howrah, on Monday. The incident was reported at Bajrang Bali Market, one of the largest scrap markets in the state. Thirty people have been admitted to T L Jaiswal Hospital in the district, an official said.
According to sources, many godowns in the area store gas cylinders. One such cylinder began to leak, following which labourers in the godown began to have respiratory issues. The labourers raised an alarm, after which locals called the fire brigade. Upon reaching the spot, fire bridge officials allegedly took out the gas cylinder and immersed it in the nearby Ganga at Jagannath Ghat, polluting the water. Sources said water supply in the area was stopped up for a few hours afterwards.
This incident triggered panic in the area and a large number of people began to complain of suffocation.“Several people had to be rushed to the hospital after they complained of suffocation following leakage of chlorine gas in Belur. Many had panicked and were discharged after a basic check-up. The situation is completely under control,” Raj Karan Nayar DC North (Howrah) told The Indian Express.
When asked why the gas cylinder was rolled into the Ganga without evacuating nearby areas first, he said, “We did receive complaints alleging that the gas cylinder was rolled into the water, which further triggered panic near Jagannath Ghat. We will find out on whose suggestion it was done. For now, our priority is to ensure people feel safe and those who are admitted are treated well. Action will be definitely taken against the owner of the compound where the gas cylinder was stored.”
Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) Bhavani Das had rushed to the spot immediately after the incident.
“A total of 72 people had to be rushed to hospitals. Out of these 72, only 30 were admitted with respiratory discomfort. 23 men and 15 women are now undergoing treatment. No one is critical, most people had rushed to the hospital out of panic,” said Das.
Bajrang Bali market was shut down for several hours after the incident, said sources.