KOCHI: A suspected gas leak around the BPCL LPG bottling plant at Ambalamugal hospitalised three residents for uneasiness. Two have been discharged, while one is under observation.The residents said the leak was experienced at about 6pm. Panchayat member Ashok Kumar said prima facie it looked like a sulphur trioxide leak from the sulphur recovery plant set up under the Integrated Refinery Expansion Plan (IREP) of the BPCL. “With BPCL facilities surrounding inhabited areas like Ashram Colony in Ambalamedu, we are constantly at risk of such incidents,” said Ashok.
The BPCL spokesperson said it has carried out stringent checks at all its nearby facilities including the two sulphur recovery units and ruled out any leak.“Our employees at the bottling plant vacated the premises after experiencing uneasiness. We have now restarted the process at our facility,” said the spokesperson. He added the presence of other industries which could have been the cause of such a leak.
According to a BPCL bottling facility employee, about 100 employees working at the facility rushed out after people reported uneasiness. “The gas seems to have come from outside the plant as our facilities don’t utilise such a compound,” said the employee inferring from the symptoms reported.
The symptoms of sulphur trioxide inhalation include sore throat, uneasiness & suffocation. Three victims which includes a senior citizen and a minor were taken to Ernakulam Medical Centre hospital for treatment. EMC spokesperson said two person were released after first aid.
Dakashayani, 68, has been kept under observation as she is yet to fully recover from the exposure. “The doctors have administered primary treatment to the affected, but they are yet to confirm the gas which was the cause of it,” the spokesperson said.