KOCHI: The careless manner in which hazardous chemicals and fuels are being transported raises fears that Kochi has become vulnerable to chemical disasters.
The gas leak from a barge carrying around 96 tonne of ammonia to the FACT plant at Ambalamedu the other day, which prompted the authorities to evacuate more than 200 families at Chambakkara, once again exposed the absence of safety precautions in the transportation of chemicals, both by road and through waterways.The FACT started operating the barge equipped with bullet tankers, to ferry liquefied ammonia from the Kochi Port to its Ambalamedu plant, following a High Court directive in 2013.
Though FACT has shifted transportation of ammonia to the barge, there are around 100 bullet tankers ferrying ammonia in the city, every day, by road.
In addition, nearly 1,000 petroleum tankers and around 100 lorries carrying acid, phenol, rubber chemicals, radio-active substances and benzene ply on the city roads every day. The ill-maintained lorries add to the severity of the problem.Officials of the MVD said that several accidents had occurred due to lapses on the part of tanker operators in following the law.