Toxic gas kills 11 in Ludhiana : The Tribune India

Toxic gas kills 11 in Ludhiana

Toxic gas kills 11 in Ludhiana

NDRF personnel at the gas leak site in Giaspura locality of Ludhiana on Sunday. PTI

Tribune News Service

Nikhil Bhardwaj

Ludhiana, April 30

Eleven persons, including three children, died allegedly after inhaling toxic gas in the city’s thickly populated Giaspura locality on Sunday, with high levels of hydrogen sulphide detected in the air and authorities suspecting it had emanated from a sewer.

Four more persons, who were taken ill, are undergoing treatment at a hospital, officials said, adding that the area was sealed, residents were evacuated and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel were at the spot following the incident.

A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident while the Ludhiana Police have registered an FIR against unknown persons.

In the air quality sensors used by the NDRF team, high levels of hydrogen sulphide gas have been detected and this gas might have led to the tragic incident, according to an official release issued by the district administration.

The officials said they suspected that the poisonous gas was released after some chemical was disposed of in the manhole in the area.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann Bhagwant Mann said the incident was very painful and added that all possible help was being provided. Giaspura is a thickly populated area with a large migrant population. The victims belonged to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and had been living in Ludhiana for over two decades. The incident came to light on Sunday morning when some people who came to a local grocery store to buy milk started fainting. Among the dead were three members of the family that owned the store. Among the 11 dead, 10 belonged to three families which were living in the area. One of the deceased is yet to be identified.

All bodies were found on the road. Two policemen, who initially reached the spot, faced breathing problems and were immediately taken for first aid. Soon after the incident was reported around 7 am, police and district administration officials rushed to the spot and evacuated the area as a precautionary measure. NDRF teams from Bathinda and Ludhiana also reached for investigation.

Ludhiana DC Surbhi Malik said samples had been taken from the manhole for examination. Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Sidhu, while ruling out any sabotage behind the incident, said some negligent person possibly with the motive of destroying some toxic chemical must have poured it into the manhole.

The deceased included Dr Kavilash, owner of Aarti Clinic (located about 100 metres from manhole), his wife Varsha (35) and three children Kalpana (16), Abhay (13) and Aryan (10). The doctor hailed from Bihar, and had settled in Punjab 30 years ago. The other three victims were Sourav Goyal (35), owner of a grocery store adjoining the clinic, his wife Preety (31) and mother Kamlesh goyal (60). The family belonged to Aligarh, UP, and had made Punjab their home for the last 20 years. Sourav’s brother Gaurav (50), who was taken ill, is admitted in hospital.

Navneet Kumar (39), an accountant living adjoining the clinic, and his wife Neetu Devi (37) were also among the dead. His brother Nitin Kumar (40) is undergoing treatment in civil hospital. The family belongs to Bihar. Both brothers settled in Ludhiana 20 years ago. One of the deceased, a 25-year-old man, is yet to be identified.

The Police Commissioner said the guilty would not be spared. CCTV cameras were being checked to get clues.

The government has announced ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh for kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured. Health Minister Balbir Singh reached the civil hospital to meet the injured.

  • High levels of hydrogen sulphide found
  • Chemical in manhole suspected to be cause
  • Victims from Bihar, UP; probe ordered
  • Three minors among the casualties

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