Government likely to send expert team to probe Ludhiana gas leak

The experts are to study the long-term epidemiological impact of the chemical leak on humans

Priyanka Sharma
Updated3 May 2023, 12:58 AM IST
NCDC team will investigate Ludhiana gas leak incident, which claimed lives of 11 people. AFP
NCDC team will investigate Ludhiana gas leak incident, which claimed lives of 11 people. AFP

New Delhi: The union health ministry is likely to send a team of experts from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) to investigate the Ludhiana gas leak that claimed the lives of 11 people. Nine others were hospitalized following the 30 April incident.

The experts will also study the long-term epidemiological impact of the chemical leak.

Meanwhile, a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been deputed for rescue operations. The Centre is in touch with the state government for further action.

“NCDC’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme team is on alert and is tracking the situation. Since health is a state subject, we need to get the indication from them. However, we are in regular contact with the state,” said an official aware of the matter.

“NDRF, National Disaster Management Authority, Defence Research and Development Organization, fire department and health ministry are in the process of drafting a dedicated mechanism to address chemical emergencies as per the requirements of states or districts where such factories and industries are located,” the official added.

Currently, in India there are no assessments or guidelines for an industry or a factory dealing with chemicals in terms of what kinds of hygiene checks they must maintain, compensation, labour laws, what measures need to be taken inside a factory during an accident, and the impact that a chemical accident is going to create outside.

“Right now, everything is scattered. Whenever a chemical incident happens, immediately an NDFR team is deputed, but there needs to be a core team which should comprise NDRF, NCDC, fire department experts, doctors etc, as well as guidelines for industry or factories dealing with chemical emergencies,” said the official;

Doctors working at various levels need to be sensitized about the impact of acute chemical accidents and their public health management, the official added.

Chemical disasters can impact human lives and the environment for years. The absence of a strong set of health and safety rules, in addition to standard operating practice for accidents is felt to be a massive gap in a country that is no stranger to chemical accidents

The world’s biggest industrial disaster happened in India -- the 1984 Bhopal gas leak tragedy, which killed nearly 3,000 people and disabled or permanently mained thousands of othes.

On an average, India produces and stores more than 3,000 hazardous chemicals every year.

As per NDRF, in the last decade alone, 130 significant chemical accidents were reported in India, which resulted in 259 deaths and 563 injuries.

Queries sent to the health ministry remained unanswered.

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First Published:3 May 2023, 12:58 AM IST
HomeNewsIndiaGovernment likely to send expert team to probe Ludhiana gas leak

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