M A I N   N E W S

Seven students inhale gas, hospitalised
Kulwinder Sandhu
Tribune News Service

Jind, November 8
At least seven schoolchildren and four teachers were hospitalised with suffocation, irritation in the throat and severe coughs after a gas with a pungent smell allegedly leaked from the internal fittings in the chemistry laboratory of the local DAV School here this morning.

However, the local authorities said the gas emission was the result of a slip-up by a student while performing an experiment.

The City Magistrate, Mr Vikram Malik, who reached the spot and monitored the operation to evacuate the students and teachers, told The Tribune that the incident occurred on the first floor of the school building just after the morning prayers around 9.15 am when the students and teachers were returning back to their classes in the corridor.

The school was immediately closed after the incident. Hundreds of parents gathered on the premises to know the fate of their children. They demanded an inquiry into the incident so as to avoid such mishaps in the future.

Some students revealed that earlier a few fire mishaps had occurred in the laboratory, following which it was restructured recently.

Mr Malik said preliminary inquiries had revealed that the emission of the pungent-smelling gas, not yet identified, was the result of a botched chemical experiment by a student. However, it was yet to be determined whether the gas was poisonous.

The Chief Medical Officer-cum- Civil Surgeon, Dr Narveer Singh, said at least seven students and four teachers were admitted in the district hospital for treatment. He said the affected students and teachers were in a semi-unconscious state when brought to the hospital. They complained of suffocation, irritation in the throat and severe coughs, he added.

He did not deny that the leaked gas was poisonous in nature, but added that it could be established only after the investigation at the administration level was completed. In reply to a question, he said all admitted students and teachers were out of danger and would be discharged from the hospital soon.

“They are all fine and their respiratory systems have started functioning normally”, the CMO added. He said the preliminary medical examination had shown that there was no effect on other internal parts of their bodies. However, he said the medical officers would regularly monitor the patients for a few more days to determine the after-effects, if any.

Mr Dharam Dev Vidhyarthi, regional managing director of DAV Schools, claimed that the school was recently awarded an ISO certification and was rated the best in the area. “There is no question of any lapse on the part of the school administration,” he added.

The Tribune also tried to contact Mrs Rasimi Vidhyarthi, Principal, but she was not available for comment.

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