Almost 36 years after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, similar spine-chilling scenes were witnessed in Andhra Pradesh's Vishakhapatnam as a gas leak occurred at the LG Polymers industry. The gas leak which has so far claimed 11 lives including a child, has left the country shell-shocked as the city witnessed scenes of people lying on roads and small children being carried by parents in arms.
The gas leak, which was unknown until later, reverberated memories of the 1984 tragedy as people ran to save their lives. Earlier in the day, a survivor detailed his experience as he said that he and his family members sensed a pungent smell and they could even see the fumes. However, within no time they started vomiting and the next thing that they remember is being in the hospital.
Another survivor stated that nobody could contemplate what was happening and everyone was just running to save their lives. She added that they thought they would die and that she did not know how to survive. The leak from the factory is suspected to have started in the early hours of Thursday between 3 am and 4 am. A villager from the vicinity also stated that many people fell unconscious during their sleep, bringing back haunting memories of the Bhopal tragedy.
Similar to the incident in Vizag, the Bhopal Gas Tragedy wherein a leak from the Union Carbide plant had left around 3,500 dead and many maimed. The tragedy is considered to be one of the world's worst industrial disaster as over 500,000 people were exposed to methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas. According to certain reports, many still suffer from medical conditions including birth defects.
11 people have been killed and nearly 250 have been hospitalized after a chemical gas leakage at the LG Polymers factory in RR Venkatapuram village in Vishakapatnam on Thursday. The gas leaked is believed to be Steyrene gas which affects the Central Nervous System of a human body and is suspected to have happened between 3 am and 4 am. Residents of the vicinity have been evacuated, however, the number of casualties is expected to rise.
The NDRF teams have neutralised the gas and FIR has been registered. Minister for Industries Mekapati Gowtham Reddy informed that a help-desk was set-up to assist the rescue operations in Vishakapatnam. The Minister asked the people not to panic and reassured that a team from the department was on the site and was manning the operations. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting with the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) following the tragedy.
LG Polymers which was established in 1961 was taken over by a South Korean firm - LG Chem - in July 1997. FIR has been registered against the firm in the case and an investigation is underway. In a statement issued by the company soon after the incident, it has said that the company is exploring all ways to provide speedy treatment for those who suffer from inhaling the leaked gas.
(With agency inputs)