7 killed in gas leak in UP, five of a family among dead
Representational image. Image Credit: iStockphoto

Karachi: The Karachi administration has sprung into action and sealed at least two illegal factories whose toxic emissions allegedly caused the deaths of 18 people in an underprivileged rural area in the suburbs of the city.

The tragic incident occurred in the Union Committee no 18, Ali Muhammad Goth, of District Keamari in Karachi where mysterious deaths occurred between January 10 and January 25. The victims included persons of all ages who developed symptoms of fever, shortness of breath, and throat infection before their death five to seven days after becoming ill.

The local residents complained of an irritating smell of chemicals due to mysterious gaseous discharge from nearby factories mostly involved in plastic production. The police also arrested five persons associated with unauthorised industrial units.

Leader of Opposition in Sindh Assembly, Haleem Adil Sheikh, who went to the affected area to meet the residents demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident and demanded the provincial government pay financial compensation to the victim families.

He blamed the relevant departments of the Sindh government whose connivance allowed the setting up of such industrial units that endangered the lives of people in the nearby areas.

Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, asked Karachi’s Commissioner, Health, Industries, and Labour departments of his government to thoroughly probe the incident.

He asked the officials concerned to make sure that the investigation should determine the nature of industrial gases whose emissions proved harmful to the nearby residents.

He asked the authorities to inspect all industrial plants whose emissions could endanger human lives. He asked the officials to provide him with the report of a thorough investigation into the tragedy and also brief him about action taken.

Sindh Labour and Human Resources Minister, Saeed Ghani, said the factories in question didn’t come under the purview of the provincial Labour Department as they were illegal industrial units.

He said the teams of the Health Department had rushed to the affected area to provide emergency medical assistance to prevent further fatalities.

He said the health teams had conducted clinical tests in the affected community to know the exact cause of deaths.

He said the preliminary findings of the officials are based on the statements given by the local residents who informed about common symptoms among the victims after falling sick.