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One killed as ammonia gas tanker bursts in factory

Staff Reporter

KOLKATA: Fresh leakage of ammonia gas was detected from the ice factory at Barrackpore of West Bengal's North 24 Parganas district on Saturday, a day after one person died and many fell ill after inhaling the gas leaked from a tanker that burst in the factory.

Two fire-tenders rushed to the spot. There was no report of any death or anyone falling ill. Panic gripped the locality since Friday evening, and many fled fearing further health complications, the district administration said.

On Friday, the Fire Department filed a First Information Report against the factory owner, who is absconding. Sub-Divisional Officer (Barrackpore) Ajay Kumar Pal said the fresh leakage was detected from a cylinder stored on the factory premises.

“The State government's industrial safety officers visited the site today [Saturday] and took requisite measures to prevent any more leakage. The remaining cylinders are being sprayed with water to prevent the gas from spreading out.”

A tanker full of ammonia gas burst in the factory on Friday. Six persons who were near it fell ill. One of them died while being taken to hospital. Some locals were admitted to hospital after they complained of uneasiness, but discharged later.

Asked whether the factory's licence would be cancelled, given that the factory is located in a residential area, Mr. Pal said the decision would be taken in a couple of days. Director-General of Fire Services Gopal Bhattacharya expressed dissatisfaction with alleged police “inaction” in arresting the owner.

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