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100 Women Sick in 2nd Gas Leak at Andhra Apparel City

Like in the first incident on June 3, the source and cause of Tuesday’s gas leak remain a mystery.
Andhra Gas Leak.

Representational use only.Image Courtesy: NDTV

In a second gas leak at Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC) at Atchutapuram, in Andhra Pradesh’s Anakapalli district, within two months, more than 100 women employed with Seeds Intimate Apparel India Private Limited (Seeds) fell sick on Tuesday.

Like in the first incident on June 3, the source and cause of Tuesday’s gas leak remain a mystery, The Times of India reported adding that the affected women complained of nausea, headache, cough and suffocation.

Some of the women fainted and were treated at the factory initially before being taken to hospitals in Anakapalli, Atchyutapuram and Visakhapatanam. Their condition is reported to be stable, according to the news agency PTI.

“The gas leak reportedly took place on the premises of Brandix. 50 people have been shifted to hospitals, and evacuation is underway. More details awaited,” news agency ANI quoted Anakapalli superintendent of police Gowthami Sali, who visited the site, as saying.

In a statement issued after the incident, Seeds said that some workers had complained of an “unpleasant odour” and hospitalised as a “precaution”. “The safety and well-being of our associates is of utmost importance and we have evacuated all of them. The affected associates are in a stable condition,” the company added.

Though the company claimed that around 17 women were hospitalised, employees present there and Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) members said that more than 80 fell sick after inhaling the gas, The Hindu reported.

R. Ramu of CITU said that around 36 women employees were admitted to NTR Government Hospital, Anakapalli, and 46 others to two private hospitals. However, the police claimed that about 50 employees were admitted to two hospitals, including NTR Hospital.

With the state government yet to issue a statement on the incident, the Opposition lashed at the chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy.

MLC and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) general secretary Nara Lokesh alleged that the state government is in deep slumber despite the recurrence of such mishaps. “Two incidents in two months in the Brandix SEZ clearly exposed the failure of the government in taking corrective action. The chief minister is turning Visakhapatnam, known as city of destiny, into ‘Vishadapatnam’ (city of tragedy),” he said in a statement.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Somu Veerraju said that the state government’s “gross negligence is glaring”. “Has the government given up its responsibility of overseeing industrial safety?” he questioned.

On June 3, 300 women employees of Quantum Seed Company fell sick after a pungent gas leak caused nausea, dizziness and vomiting, The Indian Express had reported.

According to reports, ammonia gas leaked from a nearby Porus Laboratories unit caused the June 3 incident. After an Indian Institute of Chemical Technology (IICT) team conducted tests at the lab to determine the cause of the leak, the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board (APPCB) ordered its closure. However, the lab was soon reopened.

Besides, neither the IICT report nor the report of an official committee headed by the Anakapalli district joint collector was made public.

Koteswara Rao of CITU said that the inquiry report on the first incident has not been made public and demanded that strict action be initiated against the company.

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