The disaster took place in the industrial city
of Surat in Gujarat state at around 4 am. The workers were in the mill when
some chemicals were dumped nearby, police and a fire officer said.
“Chemicals were being illegally
discharged from a tanker into a rivulet close to the mill, which possibly
reacted with another chemical in the water and created toxic gas,” the
chief fire officer of Surat Municipal Corporation, Basant Pareek, said.
“The workers inhaled the gas and started
feeling suffocation. When we reached the scene, the workers were found
collapsed on the road in their attempt to escape.”
Six workers died while 23 people were
hospitalised, seven in critical condition and on ventilators, said Pareek.
Senior police official Sharad Singhal said
officers were investigating but had yet to make any arrests.
“This was not an accidental gas leakage.
Hazardous chemicals were being discharged when the incident took place,”
India suffered the world’s worst industrial
disaster in 1984 when methyl isocyanate gas leaked from a pesticide factory
owned by American Union Carbide Corporation in the city of Bhopal, killing more
than 5,000 people.