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Gas leak in Punjab state leaves 11 dead, 4 hospitalized

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At least 11 people were killed and four others were hospitalized Sunday after a gas leak occurred in an industrial complex in the northern Indian state of Punjab.

The Giaspora gas leak was the latest fatal industrial accident in the vast developing economy of 1.4 billion people.

“11 deaths have been confirmed,” Ludhiana Police Commissioner Mandeep Singh Sidhu told reporters, adding that four people had been taken to hospital.

Saido added that the cause of the leak is not yet clear.

“When the blood sample matches the sample taken by the NDRF (National Disaster Response Force) team, only then will we be able to tell you the exact cause and the type of gas,” the police commissioner said.

NDTV reported that five women were among the dead.

The report added that the other six victims included two boys, aged 10 and 13.

Industrial gas leaks blamed on poor safety standards and inadequate checks are common in India.

Last August, at least 112 women were hospitalized after a gas leak in a garment factory in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh.

It followed a similar incident in June when about 200 women lost consciousness after a gas leak in the same area, NDTV reported.

In 2020, at least 15 people died and hundreds were hospitalized after a gas leak at a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam, an industrial port city in the same state.

Nearly 1,000 people were exposed to the gas and more than 500 were hospitalized with symptoms of shortness of breath and skin and eye irritation.

Residents were found dumped in the streets after being exposed to the gas, forcing large-scale evacuations around the plant.

A government report accused the plant’s owner LG Polymers, a subsidiary of South Korea’s LG Chem, of negligence and said the disaster was due to a lack of safety protocols and poor emergency response.

Two top South Korean executives and 10 other local employees were arrested and charged, including the Indian legal equivalent of manslaughter.

This accident triggered memories of one of India’s worst industrial disasters.

In 1984, a gas leaked from a pesticide plant in Bhopal, a city in central India.

At least 3,500 people living around the UCC-run plant died in the days following the leak. People still suffer the effects to this day.

Still babies were born deformed, with webbed feet and hands, and suffered stunted growth due to the gases that affected their mothers.

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