KOLLAM: The investigation team probing into the gas leak incidents at the Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML) plants in Chavara said on Monday that the gas leak on the second day was also from the plants, contradicting the management’s claim that it had shut the plants after the first incident on August 6.
ADGP A Hemachandran, who heads the expert team, told a press meet at Chavara that the plants were operational on the two consecutive days.
“We have got evidence that there was a leak on plant D203 on the first day (August 6).
On the second day, another plant D201 developed a leak around 7 am on the joint between the thermowell and the plant. We need to quantify the amount of gas leaked on that day,” Hemachandran said.
He admitted that safety measures had been compromised in the plant and said he would point it out to the government on the steps to ensure the safety of people.
The plants were made operational on Sunday and stopped by Monday evening, after collecting the emission samples.
The ADGP added that the team could ascertain whether the gas leaks were responsible for the health problems of the children in the vicinity only after the completion of investigation.
Around 120 students were hospitalised allegedly owing to the gas leak on August 6 and 7.
In 2011 also, a similar incident occurred at the plant that led to a public scare.
“The Factories and Boilers Department had submitted a report that the gases leaked in 2011 might have reacted under certain weather conditions to form toxic compounds that can pose threat to people,” Hemachandran said.
Meanwhile, the united trade union leaders alleged in a separate press meet that there had been no leak from the plant on the second day and said it was part of a conspiracy.
The investigation is not in the right direction since they are clueless about the incident and are trying to put the blame on the workers in the plant, they alleged.
“Why are they not investigating the strange way in which only select students were affected by the ‘leaked’ gas and not the others? We also doubt the way some vested people organised the ambulance services and created ruckus during the roadblock,” one of the leaders said.
According to them, the plant was shut by 8.30 am on August 7, but the reported gas leak happened at 10 am. This is nothing but strange. There is need for a thorough investigation, they said.
District Collector Prnab Jyothi Nath extended the holiday for schools and colleges near KMML to Tuesday.
However, conduct of examinations has been exempted. Educational institutions near the plant have been shut down since August 7.