Hassan : Around 25 people, including four employees of Belur Town Municipal Corporation (TMC), were affected after they inhaled chlorine gas that had leaked from a water treatment plant on the outskirts of Belur in the early hours of Tuesday.
The staff, who tried to plug the leakage, and people residing close to the treatment plant near Surapura developed breathlessness, nausea and a burning sensation in their throats, and many had to be taken to hospital. The situation was brought under control by 5 a.m.
Three watermen Lokesh, Shankar and Kariyappa posted at the treatment plant noticed the leakage around 2 a.m. They tried to locate the problem, but could not. They called up G. Chandan, a junior engineer with the TMC who stays in the government quarters nearby. He arrived but the group was unable to fix the problem. But they grew sick and had to call an ambulance to go to the government hospital in Belur.
Within a few minutes, senior officials of the corporation and Fire and Emergency Services staff rushed to the spot, but as the gas had spread rapidly, none of them could go to the room where the chlorine cylinder was placed. As many as eight workers attached to a borewell truck, who were sleeping nearby, were rushed to hospital as they too fell sick.
The staff, with the help of mediapersons, went all around Hanumantha Nagar, a residential extension, and asked residents to leave for a while. “The residents in a radius of 500 m were asked to go. Many left in their vehicles, while others walked about a km, where they could get fresh air,” said Mr. Chandan.
The staff managed to plug the leakage around 5 a.m., by which time the effect of the gas had subsided. “It seems there was a leakage due to a worn-out washer connected to the cylinder,” said B.C. Basavaraju, chief officer of the TMC. By 5.30 a.m., all the residents had returned home.
Those affected by the gas are being treated in Belur and Hassan hospitals, but officials said all are safe.