Five arrested for ammonia leakage from potato chips making unit near Coimbatore

Published - May 01, 2024 07:02 pm IST - COIMBATORE

The police have arrested five persons in connection with the leakage of ammonia at a potato chips manufacturing unit near Karamadai in Coimbatore district on Monday.

Jaffar Ali (50) of Mettupalayam, Balakrishnan (59) of No: 4 Veerapandi, Gurusamy (62) of Kovaipudur, Samraj (42) of Karamadai, and Sampath Kumar (38) of Chikkarampalayam were arrested for negligence in handling the chemical compound.

According to the police, the potato chips making unit at Senniveerampalayam village near Karamadai was established four years ago. However, it remained defunct due to financial issues and was auctioned by a bank later. Avinashi native Ashik Mohammed bought the unit in the auction, following which he tasked his relative Ali for renovation works, said the police.

Around 100 kg of ammonia, which had been used for the cold storage facility in the potato chips making unit, was stored in a tank. The compound leaked from the tank on Monday evening and spread for a radius of about 800 metres. The police and revenue officials evacuated villagers after some of them had breathing trouble and irritation in eyes. They were made to stay in an auditorium and return to their houses the next morning. The leakage was arrested late on Monday.

Following complaints from the residents, Chikkarampalayam village administrative officer lodged a complaint with Karamadai police on Tuesday, seeking action against persons whose negligence led to the ammonia leakage.

The police registered a case against Ali, the unit’s manager Balakrishnan, technician Gurusamy and two labourers – Samraj and Sampath Kumar. They were arrested late on Tuesday and were sent to judicial remand.

The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board sealed the unit on Tuesday night, as the owner had not obtained permission before commencing renovation works, the police added.

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