Visakhapatnam

Visakhapatnam gas leak | RR Venkatapuram residents wake up to thick blanket of fog, pungent smell

Residents wait on footpaths for help after fleeing their homes following a gas leak from a chemical plant in Visakhapatnam on May 7, 2020.   | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak

It was around 3.30 a.m. on Thursday when thick fog engulfed the villages in the RR Venkatapuram locality. The unusual foggy dawn in the summer suprised the early risers who thought there might be a fire accident nearby. But they were caught unawares by the pungent smell and breathlessness. 

As the news spread and people indoors also felt nausea and dizzyness. The residents understood that something had horribly gone wrong and the entire locality broke into a panic.

 

People came out of their houses and ran helter skelter. Many of them fell unconcious on the road. Anticipating that there might be a mishap in the LG Polymers, which situated in the middle of the locality, some residents dialled the police.

Run for survival

“As we opened the doors, we saw people running on the streets. Women carrying their children, men carrying small bags stuffed them with valuables that they could lay their hands on. The throughfares was soon filled with people screaming and running. People even did not care to lock their houses. It was a run for survival,” said Babu Rao, a resident, while the pre-dawn horor. 

Police reached the spot immediately with jeeps, patrol vehicles, ambulances in tow. And the evacuation began. Soon, several RTC buses also joined the operation. 

Some people left in their own vehicles, while auto-rickshsaw drivers picked up their neighbours. Police also rescued many residents from the surrounding areas of RR Venkatapuram, who locked themselves in their houses in panic. By the sunrise, the lanes of RR Venkatapuram were deserted.

“There was thick fog on the road. Some people fell unconcious on the road while running. We were frightened and locked ourselves in the house. Many police personnel also fell sick,” said Mani Kumar, a mechanical engineer from the area.

 

People came running till the Simhachalam-Pendurthi road. Locals in the surrounding areas of Pendurthi, Gopalapatnam provided them with water.

“We had breathing problems and were unable to see the road properly due to fog. I heard few fell in the drains while running,” said Ramana, another resident of RR Venkatapuram.

Man falls off terrace

A man went up to the terrace of his house to see what exactly happened. But, he fell off the terrace and sustained severe injuries. He was shifted to a hospital.

 

Around 20 animals including cattle and stray dogs reportedly died. 

Many villagers also went to the LG Polymers plant site and staged a protest demanding stringent action against the authorities.

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 8:48:34 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/visakhapatnam-gas-leak-rr-venkatapuram-residents-wake-up-to-thick-blanket-of-fog-pungent-smell/article31524052.ece

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