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Another gas leakage at LG Polymers in Vizag triggers panic, UN chief wants full investigation

Visakhapatnam: Another gas leakage from LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam late Thursday triggered panic in areas near the plant and forced people to move to safe places.

Fumes were seen billowing out of the chemical plant, where the gas leakage in the early hours of the day claimed 11 lives and affected over 300 others.

People from Gopalpatnam, Simhachalam and Pinagadi areas, which are four km away from the plant, were seen moving to safe places.

The gas smell sent panic in certain areas late Thursday night. Many people rushed out of their houses and were seen heading to safer places by their vehicles.

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Local police at few places advised people to move to safe places as a precautionary measure.

Officials, however, said the gas emission was continuing since the major leakage around 3.45 a.m. on Thursday.

Visakhapatnam Police Commissioner R K Meena said there was no need for panic. “Efforts are going on to neutralize the gas leak. There is no danger,” he said.

The police commissioner hoped that the work to plug the emissions will be completed in a couple of hours.

About 12,000 people from RR Venkatapuram and four other villages were evacuated after the leakage early Thursday.

Visakhapatnam District Fire Officer Sandeep Anand said 10 fire engines and two foam fighters were kept ready in the plant. He said some ambulances were also on standby as a precautionary measure.

Meanwhile, a cargo flight carrying a team of experts and PTBC inhibitor, an antidote for styrene, landed in Visakhapatnam late Thursday.

The experts in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) disaster are likely to begin the operation to plug the emissions after assessing the situation at the plant.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wants a full investigation into the gas leak at a chemical plant in Vishakapatnam that has killed at least 11 people, his Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Thursday.

“These kinds of incidents need to be fully investigated by the local authorities,” Dujarric said at his daily briefing.

He said that Guterres offers “our condolences to the victims, and hope for a quick recovery to those who have been impacted.”

Styrene in gas form leaked from the LG Polymers plant at RR Venkatapuram apparently due to the failure of the safety system on Thursday morning.

While 11 died, 340 people have been hospitalised, 15 of them in a critical condition, according to Andhra Pradesh officials.

The incident was reminiscent of the 1984 Bhopal incident in which methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal.

While about 3,800 people died in the Bhopal tragedy, the toll in today’s Vishakapatnam incident was far less because of timely action by authorities and the fact that styrene in gas form is heavier and travels over a smaller area.

(IANS)

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