Wednesday, July 14, 2010


NEW DELHI ( - Nearly 100 persons fell sick early on Wednesday after inhaling chlorine gas leaking from a cylinder stored in Bombay Port Trust (BPT). The gas wafted through a college building in the vicinity, said Uday Tatkare, Mumbai’s chief fire officer. He told CNN that about 98 people have been hospitalized, most of them students and port workers. Others have been discharged after primary treatment. The exposure mainly caused breathing problems, but no one is reported critical, Tatkare said. Fire crews threw a water blanket at the site - a hazardous-goods storage facility belonging to the Mumbai Port Trust - to contain the leak and at least four fire officials have also suffered exposure and have been admitted to a hospital, he said. Authorities have evacuated a residential neighborhood close to the scene, but some passers-by did come in contact with the gas, he added. Experts are neutralizing more than 100 other chlorine canisters that officials say had been lying in the same compound since 1997.

In a statement, the Mumbai Port Trust claimed importers had not taken delivery of the gas tanks from its facility, about 8 km (4.9 miles) from the docks, for all these years. The leak was noticed when people residing in that area started complaining of severe eye irritation, vomiting and breathlessness. According to fire brigade officers, among various workers who rushed to the spot to plug the leakage, four fell ill and have been admitted to JJ hospital. Various areas in and around Sewri have been evacuated; however, one can only get horrified to imagine the situation if such chlorine gas leakage incidents occur on a large scale. Definitely, the horrific memories of the deadly Bhopal Gas Tragedy on Dec 3, 1984 come to mind. The judicial courts judgment in the Bhopal gas tragedy incident has been said to be nothing but crocodile tears for Bhopal gas victims.

Although, chlorine gas leakage can be considered just an accident, it certainly must be a warning bell for the Mumbai municipality, chemical factories, and locations where gases are stored for commercial purposes. It is not enough just to provide more surveillance, we need to feel that the pain of our neighbors is our own pain and see everyone as brothers.

One generally follows different types of religious principles or performs various occupational duties according to the body given to him by the modes of material nature. In this verse, however, real religious principles are explained. Everyone should be unhappy to see others in distress and happy to see others happy. Ātmavat sarva-bhūteshu: one should feel the happiness and distress of others as his own. ... A Vaishnava, therefore, is truly a perfect person because he laments seeing others unhappy and feels joy at seeing others happy. A Vaishnava is para-duhkha-duhkhī; he is always unhappy to see the conditioned souls in an unhappy state of materialism. Therefore a Vaishnava is always busy preaching Krishna consciousness throughout the world.

Śrīla A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda :
The Śrīmad Bhāgavatam”
Purport in Canto 6 - Chapter 10 - Verse 9.

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