At least seven workers were hospitalised in Chhattisgarh’s Raigadh district on Thursday after being exposed to poisonous gas while cleaning a paper mill. Of the seven, three were said to be in a serious condition and were being shifted to the capital, Raipur.
The incident happened last night while workers were cleaning the mill, which had been closed due to the lockdown and was expected to reopen soon.
“We were not informed about the incident. We got to know about it from the hospital,” Superintendent of Police (Raigadh) Santosh Singh said. “We are monitoring the situation and will take legal action on the mill owner.”
According to the mill owner Deepak Gupta, three men had gone to clean the paper pulp tank inside the mill, which was to reopen soon. “More men came in to help and all of them had to be hospitalized. Three men are being taken to Raipur, for further treatment,” he said.
Sources said that the men were affected by a carbon-heavy gas, possibly methane, which was trapped in the paper pulp tank, while cleaning.
“Two of the men are being taken to the government hospital in Raipur while one is shifted to a private hospital. All three are critical, while the other four are stable,” a Raigarh district official said.
The incident took place hours before a gas leak from a chemical plant in Andhra Pradesh’s Visakhapatnam killed at least 11 people, including a child. Hundreds were said to have fallen ill due to the leak in Gopalapatnam area, where the plant is located. Close to a 1,000 people have been evacuated from the area.