BALASORE: As many as 70 women, including minors, were taken ill after coming in contact with toxic gas leaked in Falcon Marine Exports Ltd’s prawn processing factory in Balasore district Panpana on Wednesday night.
While around 40 severely affected women were immediately rushed to Khantapada Community Health Centre (CHC), 13 of them were later shifted to Fakir Mohan Medical College and Hospital at Balasore after their condition deteriorated.
A team of doctors has been treating the affected women workers and their condition is stated to be serious. Though those admitted in the CHC are out of danger, they will be kept under observation.
Sources said women workers of Falcon Marine Exports Limited, a leading aquaculture firm dealing with production, processing and export of fresh and frozen seafood, came in contact with the toxic gas when they were engaged in processing prawns in the factory.
They complained of nausea and vomiting and fell unconscious after inhaling the gas. Factory staff rushed them to Khantapada CHC. Balasore Collector K Sudarshan Chakrabarty and SP Jugal Kishore Banoth reached at the hospital and monitored their treatment. Chief District Medical and Public Health Officer Bannerjee Prasad Chhotray said more doctors are being called from nearby hospitals to treat those affected admitted in the CHC.
While locals alleged that the women were affected following leak of ammonia gas, the cause of the incident is yet to be ascertained.
Chairman of Falcon Marine Tara Ranjan Patnaik denied leakage of any gas. He said the gas emanated after bleaching powder came in contact with water. “Excess gas might have occurred due to overdose of bleaching powder. The women workers were affected as they were working inside the closed AC room,” he clarified.
Meanwhile, the district police has registered a case in this connection. They have detained three staff of the factory after preliminary investigation. “A team of forensic experts has been sent to ascertain the cause of gas leakage and further investigation,” tweeted Director General of Police Bijay Kumar Sharma.
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