In the latest deadly industrial accident in the vast developing economy of 1.4 billion people, a gas leak killed 11 people in India, an official said Sunday.
The gas leak happened in Giaspura, an industrial area of Ludhiana in the northern state of Punjab.
The official, who asked not to be named, said they had yet to ascertain what kind of gas leaked or the source of the leak.
“Eleven dead and four in hospital. Rescue operation is on,” the official told AFP after the incident.
Industrial gas leaks blamed on poor safety standards and insufficient checks are common in India.
Last August, at least 112 women were hospitalized after a gas leak at an apparel manufacturing plant in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.
That followed a similar accident in June when around 200 women fell unconscious after a gas leak in the same area, broadcaster NDTV reported.
In 2020, at least 15 people were killed and hundreds hospitalized after a gas leak at a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam, an industrial port city in the same state.
Nearly 1,000 people were exposed to the gas and over 500 were hospitalized with symptoms of severe respiratory distress and skin and eye irritation.
Residents were found slumped in the streets after being exposed to the gas, forcing a large-scale evacuation around the plant.
That pre-dawn accident took place at a chemical plant owned by LG Polymers, a subsidiary of South Korea’s LG Chem.
Two senior South Korean executives and 10 other local employees of LG Polymers were later arrested and charged with offenses, including the Indian legal equivalent of manslaughter.
A 4,000-page government report accused the firm of negligence and said the disaster was due to a lack of safety protocols and poor emergency response.
The styrene gas leaked from tanks at the polystyrene manufacturing unit that had been lying idle for weeks due to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown.
That incident sparked memories of when India witnessed one of its worst industrial disasters in 1984.
Gas leaked from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, a city in central India.
At least 3,500 people living around the plant operated by Union Carbide died in the days that followed the leak. People continue to suffer the effects to this day.
Children are still born disfigured, with webbed feet and hands, and experience stunted growth because of the gas that affected their mothers.