Photo by BL SONI
Photo by BL SONI

Mumbai: People residing near Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL)’s Mahul plant in Chembur were left shaken after hearing a huge blast on Wednesday afternoon.  “We actually thought it was a bomb blast, a terrorist attack. We immediately left our houses and came on field only to witness smoke erupting from a distance,” said Jeremy Concesao, a Mahim resident.

Locals also reported earthquake-like vibrations from as far as four kilometres from the plant. Residents from around 72 Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) buildings, who have been rehabilitated close to the refinery, took to the streets and raised slogans against the government outside the plant.

“What is the government doing? How can such a tragedy happen in a city like Mumbai? They have to answer why should a citizen feel safe in this city,” asked a fuming resident.  Locals said they are already grappling with several health issues due to the pollution caused by the refinery. “Although there is no epidemic as far as health is concerned, many people were coughing in the nearby area. The pollution from the blast was too much. We couldn’t see the other side due to dense, black smoke,” said Jaikant Mahyawanshi, a Deonar resident.

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