75 fall sick as ammonia leaks at fish processing plant

Fire and emergency service personnel in action to to contain ammonia gas leak at Malpe Fresh Marine Export Private Limited's seafood processing plant in Devalkunda, Kundapur, Udupi district on Monday.

As many as 75 employees including 68 women had to be hospitalised after they were exposed to ammonia gas at Malpe Fresh Marine Export Private limited in Devalkunda in Kundapur on Monday.

It is suspected that ammonia gas, used as a refrigerant in the seafood processing plant, leaked in the wee hours and spread over a radius of 300 meters. Around 401 employees have been employed in the Malpe Fresh Marine Export Private Limited, set up in 2017. Of them 65 employees, staying in the quarters within the plant’s vicinity, began complaining of breathlessness and vomiting. 

All of them were immediately shifted to Adharsha hospital in Kundapur. One woman was shifted to intensive care unit and the remaining were treated in the general ward. Fire personnel from Kundapur and Udupi successfully contained the ammonia leak. Five of the victims were from Nepal and remaining are from North Karnataka and North India. For past three days, the factory remained closed due to lack of demand for fish.

Udupi Deputy Commissioner Hephsiba Rani Korlapati and Superintendent of Police Nisha James visited the seafood processing plant and later the hospital. The DC also ordered officials to submit a report on incident.

The Kundapur police have registered a case. Sources said the issue of paying compensation to the affected would be taken up with the labour and revenue departments, sources added.

Officials from the labour department visited the spot and interacted with the authorities of the plant.

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