Over 150 women, working in an apparel manufacturing unit in the Brandix Special Economic Zone (SEZ), fell sick following a suspected ammonia gas leak from a nearby chemical laboratory on Friday. No casualties were reported.
The gas was suspected to have leaked from Porus Laboratories unit located outside the SEZ at Atchyutapuram but its impact was felt in the apparel unit inside the SEZ, where some of the women workers immediately fell unconscious after complaining of eyesore, nausea and vomiting.
Damaged scrubbers in the unit were said to have resulted in the gas leak, officials said after preliminary investigation.
The apparel-manufacturing units in the SEZ were immediately shut down as a precautionary measure and personnel at work in other units were evacuated to safety. The entire area has been sanitised following the incident.
State Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath told PTI that the affected workers were stable and the situation was now under control.
“Only a few workers fell unconscious while most others suffered irritation in eyes and nausea. They were taken to hospitals in Anakapalli and Visakhapatnam for treatment,” Amarnath said.
Anakapalli district medical and health officer Hemanth Kumar said many of the workers have recovered after first-aid was administered.
“Some of the workers were moved to private hospitals in Anakapalli where we have kept them under observation. There is no danger to anyone,” the DMHO said.
District Superintendent of Police Gautami Sali said they were investigating into the cause of the incident.
“The workers are stable and the situation is under control,” she added.
Around lunchtime on Friday, workers in the seed apparel unit starting complaining of irritation in eyes, nausea and giddiness as a pungent odour suddenly filled the air. They were first taken to the health centre in the SEZ and later taken to hospitals in Anakapalli and Visakhapatnam.
Officials from the AP Pollution Control Board reached the Porus’ unit and, along with the engineers, plugged the gas leak.
Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy spoke to senior officials about the gas leak and directed them to take immediate steps to prevent such incidents in future.
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