Dozens in India taken to hospital after gas leak at meat factory

Ammonia leak at a factory in the city of Aligarh was the second such incident in two days

Police outside the Vishva Prem Mills in the Indian city of Surat in 2020, after a gas leak that killed six people. AFP
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Dozens of people are being treated at hospital after an ammonia gas leak at a meat factory in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on Thursday, police said.

Police in Aligarh city said the factory workers were in a stable condition.

"Around 45 to 50 workers, including women, were at the factory when the leakage started and they fell unconscious," Police Superintendent Kalanidhi Naithani told The National.

District Magistrate Indra Vikram Singh said an initial investigation found the leak was caused by a burst pipe.

"Police are investigating the matter to ascertain if it is a case of negligence. We will take necessary steps," he said.

"The women were engaged in packaging work when the gas leaked this afternoon. Some women had complained of breathing problems.

"The doctors have informed us that everyone is stable and there is no need for panic. Our priority right now is their treatment."

It was the second such incident at a food processing plant in two days. More than two dozen workers fell ill after an ammonia leak at a prawn processing unit in eastern Odisha state on Wednesday.

Industrial gas leaks have killed workers across the country.

Six people died in January after inhaling toxic gas following an illegal chemical dump at a mill in Surat, in the western state of Gujarat.

Chemicals were illegally discharged into a stream near the mill as people worked inside, police said.

Several people died from a gas leak at a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam, in the eastern state of Andhra Pradesh, in 2020.

India suffered the world's worst industrial disaster in 1984 when methyl isocyanate gas leaked from a pesticide factory owned by American Union Carbide Corporation in the city of Bhopal, in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

It is estimated the incident killed more than 15,000 people.

Updated: September 29, 2022, 9:08 AM