On Saturday afternoon, residents of several areas in the eastern suburbs of the city, such as Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli, Ghatkopar, Bhandup and Mulund, complained of a pungent smell in the air, leading to fears of a suspected gas leakage in their areas. Local corporators and the BMC clarified that there was no gas leak after inspection.
A corporator said the smell could have emanated from a chemical tanker on the Eastern Express Highway. According to residents, the smell was sensed in the air around 4.30 pm. It grew stronger with time. Some people experienced a burning sensation. Several people took to Twitter and raised the issue with the BMC and Mahanagar Gas Limited. They requested the agencies to inspect if there was a gas leak.
BMC officials said they inspected each of the wards but there was no gas leakage. "We can only locate the problem, but it needs to be solved by the gas supplying agency. We carried out inspections but we haven't found any leakage point yet," a civic official said.
Mahanagar Gas Limited tweeted, “MGL has been receiving complaints of gas smell from parts of Mumbai on October 17. Our emergency teams have spread out to sites from where complaints were received. We are checking our pipeline systems but have not come across any breach which could result in gas leakage."
Debarati Chakraborty, a resident of Kanjurmarg West, said the smell was pungent and quite similar to the smell emitted outside chemical laboratories.
"At least 10 people from our building wrote about the smell on the building’s WhatsApp group. I am sure more people have smelt it," she said. The smell reduced around 7:30 pm.
Vikhroli's Ram Taneja said, "We vacated our buildings and called out for immediate help. We sent people to check for any leakage inside the building.”
"Senior citizens also complained of suffocation and a burning sensation in their nose," said Ayush Govale, another resident of the same building.
Powai's Jaidev Kamble said the smell lasted for more than an hour. Prakash Gangadhare, BJP Corporator from Mulund said, "After reports of gas leakage emerged on Twitter, I checked with BMC and Mahanagar Gas Limited. They said that there has been no leakage and chances are a chemical tanker might have passed through the highway, from which the smell was spread.”
BJP corporator from Ghatkopar, Suryakant Gawali also said there had been no leakage. "I received a few messages on WhatsApp regarding a leak. We did a thorough check with BMC officials, but couldn't find any leakage."
Bhandup corporator, Sarika Pawar, however, said she had not received any complaints. Earlier in June, similar complaints were reported in Chembur and its adjoining areas.