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Mystery odour sends Mangalore into tizzy

The air smelt of leaking gas, complained most residents. The police control room and fire control room were flooded with panic calls

Published: 21st September 2013 08:18 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st September 2013 08:18 AM   |  A+A-

Panic gripped the western parts of the city after the air began to reek of a nauseating odour for a few hours on Friday.

The air smelt of leaking gas, complained most residents who called Express.

The police and fire control rooms were flooded with panic calls from 2 pm to 3 pm. Dakshina Kannada Deputy Commissioner N Prakash also confirmed receiving calls from residents from 2 pm to 3 pm.

In order to check veracity of the calls, he visited Hampankatta and found the unpleasant smell of leaking gas wafting in the air.

Residents of Kulur, Baikampady, Surathkal, Yeyyadi, Bajal, Padi, Konchady, Shaktinagar and surrounding places on experiencing the nauseating odour, rushed into the open.

In some areas, power was switched off as a precaution. DC Prakash told Express that he alerted the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and scientists began collecting air samples. Chief Fire Officer (CFO) C Varadaraj said initially they tried to trace the source of odour by dispatching fire engines to MRPL, MCF, HPCL and surrounding industries. KSPCB Environmental Officer Lakshaman N told Express that air samples were sent to a lab for testing.

“The odour stopped by 3.30 pm,’’ Prakash told Express.

However not taking any chances, he called a meeting of KSPCB, MRPL, HPCL  officials, CFO Varadaraj, explosive experts and the Factories and Boilers department, where officials were told to collect a second set of samples.

Chairman of Disaster Management Committee, district Red Cross Society Yatish Baikampady suspected that a tanker with leaking gas could be the source of odour as most complaints came from those living near the highway.

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