Panic prevailed at nearly 15 colonies of the eastern parts of the city as a chlorine gas cylinder at a water treatment plant in Kabit Khedi area leaked leading to breathlessness and irritation in the eyes of residents. Thousands of people came out of their houses complaining of uneasiness even as some of them even reached hospitals. They, however, were discharged after primary treatment.
The leakage took place in a chlorine gas cylinder weighing 950 kg at Bhangarh Water Treatment plant. According to IMC, additional municipal commissioner Sandeep Soni, a valve of the chlorine gas cylinder got damaged due to which the gas leaked and spread in the locality. Sources said the leakage was first detected in the morning when the cylinder was in use. A team from Grasim factory, Nagda, was called in to the city and which fixed the valve and returned.
However, it again got damaged a few hours later in the afternoon. During the day time, people could not notice the smell of the gas due to air pollution caused by vehicular traffic. But as the evening set in, people of Swasthya Nagar started complaining of uneasiness. About 6 pm, some residents of Swasthya Nagar came out of their houses to find out the source of the smell. Within a few minutes, the smell grew and people were complaining of breathing issues and irritation in eyes and vomiting.
People covered their faces with handkerchiefs and cloths and informed the Indore Municipal Corporation, District Administration and Police. Before the civic authorities could swing into action, identical complaints reached from Lahiya Colony, Kabit Khedi, Royal Bungalows and nearby colonies. IMC officers, police and fire-brigade reached the treatment plant but they could do little to control the situation. The bulldozer pressed into the task of removing the heavy cylinder could not move it.Eventually, a hydra machine was deployed which brought the cylinder out and put it behind the plant.
The leakage, however, still did not stop.
There is no need to panic due to gas leakage. It is not a serious incident. Everything is normal. Administration team is present at the scene and has strated the relief work.
Nishant Warwade, collector
Impact till Vijay Nagar
The gas had spread in two to three kilometres of area. Nearly 20 colonies are located in the stretch. The leaked chlorine gas even reached till Vijay Nagar as residents there too complained of breathlessness and irritation in eyes. Phones calls were made from Vijay Nagar too at IMC headquarters but little could the municipal official do to address the leakage problem. The only advice IMC official could give to people is not to panic as the gas won’t do any damage to their body.
IMC still not prepared
IMC was not prepared to deal with the situation. There was no mechanism in place to deal such a disaster. The officials have no clue what to do to stop the leakage and they just stood as mute spectators for several hours waiting for Grasim team to arrive again and fix the valve.When the complaints grew, IMC officials Sandeep Soni, Rajnish Kasera, Rohan Saxena and others present decided to call in buses to shift residents of Swasthya Nagar which was worst hit due to the gas leak incident.
Leakage plugged temporarily
Fire-brigade managed to stop the leakage temporarily around 11 pm. Around 10.30 pm, fire-brigade personnel brought out a tube and tightened it around the cylinder valve emitting gas. The idea worked and the leakage stopped. The Grasim team had reached Indore around mid-night and started repair work.