Highlights

  • Ammonia leak at cold drink factory in Kolkata
  • Several workers fell ill and were hospitalised
  • Police: leak spotted and mended

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Kolkata: several workers fall ill after gas leak at cold drink factory

The gas leakage was reported from the pipe meant to supply ammonia, which is used as a coolant at the factory

Several workers of a cold drink manufacturing unit located in Kamalgazi area in the southern fringes of Kolkata fell ill following leakage of toxic gas on Monday, police said.

Two fire fighters, who went there to rescue the workers also fell ill, a senior police officer, said.

The gas leakage was reported from the pipe meant to supply ammonia, which is used as a coolant at the factory, at around 4 pm, the officer said.

All the workers were removed from the factory and those who complained of "feeling sick", including the two fire fighters, were rushed to a nearby medical facility for treatment, the police officer said.

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"We evacuated the workers of the factory and people of the nearby locality and tried to spot what the problem was. Going by the pungent smell of the gas it seems to be ammonia. We have a team of doctors with us," the officer told PTI.

Fire fighters sprinkled water continuously to "control the gas leakage", he said, adding that the spot of the leakage was spotted later in the evening and it was quickly "mended".

"It seems that the problem has been addressed and there is no gas leakage from the plant at the moment," the policeman said, adding that a huge police team is posted there as a precautionary measure.

No reaction was received from the authorities of the manufacturing plant despite repeated attempts.

Ammonia, a basic building block for ammonium nitrate fertilizer, is irritating and corrosive. Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in the air causes immediate burning of the nose, throat and respiratory tract. This can cause bronchiolar and alveolar oedema, and airway destruction resulting in respiratory distress.

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