About 500 people complained of burning eyes and nausea in Madhya Pradesh on October 15 after allegedly inhaling toxic gas, the source of which remains unknown.
“Around 200 people in Kirat Nagar, Mendua and Nayapara Tola villages complained of vomiting and burning sensation in their eyes perhaps after inhaling gas that emanated from an unidentified source,” district collector of Bhopal Arun Kumar Bhatt was reported as saying.
The people from the neighbouring Raisen district’s three villages were immediately brought to Bhopal’s J.P. Hospital for treatment and discharged after first aid, including eye drops and general medicines.
The leakage, suspected to have occurred near Bangrasia on the Bhopal-Bhojpur road, may have been caused by some gas emanating from some factory near the village.
The state government has announced a one-man inquiry headed by principal secretary (Housing and Environment) P.D. Meena to probe the incident.
“The committee will inquire into the causes and the source of the leakage. It will also look into the role of the district administration, the police and the Pollution Control Board in providing instant relief to the victims,” an official release said.
The report would have to be submitted within a month.
While NGOs suspect it to be a case of yet another industrial disaster – not as severe as the Bhopal gas tragedy, there are also reports of leakage from a Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) tanker carrying gas to make tear gas shells.
The Bhopal gas tragedy in December 1984 occurred when 40 tonnes of deadly methyl-iso-cyanate gushed out of the Union Carbide’s pesticide plant, killing 15,000 people.