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Adulterated Holi colours: Toll rises to 84 in Ambernath

About 84 children from Ambernath in Thane district were hospitalised after they took ill reportedly due to the use of adulterated colours on Holi.

About 84 children from Ambernath in Thane district were hospitalised after they took ill reportedly due to the use of adulterated colours on Holi.

The children were treated for nausea,headache and breathlessness on Wednesday and are stated to be stable now.

Thane district civil surgeon Dr P M Chapalgaonkar said that 55 children had been brought to the civil hospital since Wednesday evening,of which four were shifted to the Jupiter Hospital at Thane late in the night. “When the children were brought here they complained of nausea and headache that appeared to be due to poisoning. Now the children are stable and out of danger,” said Dr Chapalgaonkar.

A spokesperson at the Jupiter Hospital said: “The four children admitted here complained of nausea and breathlessness. Their blood pressure was low and they were in a state of shock. Today the children have shown a significant improvement.”

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The number of children being rushed to the hospital rose during the evening and prima facie the cause appeared to be chemical colours as all of the children are from areas of Bhaskar Nagar,Balaji Nagar and Navin Bhendipada. The Ambernath police arrested four local shop owners on grounds of suspicion.

According to investigating officer police inspector P D Rathod,the four persons who have been arrested on Thursday are Omprakash Gupta (45) owner of Sai Comestics and General Stores,Vijay Gupta (20) of Vijay provision stores,Nazir Noormohammad Sheikh (20) from Dattar Store and Ramprasad Gupta (50) from Ramprasad provision store. The four have been arrested for selling poisonous products which were hazardous to the public. The police have produced the suspects before the court and remanded them to police custody till March 16. The police have also seized the colours from these shops and sent them along with samples of colours handed over by some of the children,to the forensic laboratories for testing.

The signs of poisoning were not noticed when the children arrived home after playing colours and had their food. Lata Gavit,a resident of Bhaskar,whose son Dinesh (9) is one of the affected children,said: “My son came home in the afternoon and went to sleep after having his food. But he began vomiting after he woke up,” she said. Yakosh Shingre,father of Prabhu (15),said his son was exposed to the colours when his friends applied them on him.

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Both the police and doctors suspect that harmful chemicals present in the colours may have been ingested by children while eating their food. Initially the children were rushed to a private clinic and later to the Central Hospital in neighbouring Ulhasnagar. Medical officer N B Bapdekar of Central Hospital said that as the hospital had only two ventilators and as most of the children were complaining of breathlessness,they had to be shifted to other facilities.

First published on: 13-03-2009 at 22:32 IST
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