7 fall ill while cleaning waste in closed paper mill in Chhattisgarh

Raipur, May 7 (IANS) As many as seven people were rushed to the hospital after they fell unconscious while cleaning waste as part of an operation to restart a closed paper mill in the coal-rich Raigarh district of Chhattisgarh, officials said on Thursday.

The incident took place Wednesday night at Shakti Papers mill in a rural area, about 250 km from here. A case has been registered against the mill management.

According to reports, the incident sparked panic and anger in nearby areas, home to around 60 poor families. A team of forensic experts has reached the site to examine the exact cause of the incident.

“Seven workers who were taking paper waste out from an open tank complained of breathlessness. They were rushed to a local hospital. Three of them were later taken to the state capital for urgent medical attention,” Raigarh Superintendent of Police Santosh Kumar Singh told IANS over phone.

One worker has been put on ventilator at Raipur's MMI Hospital and his condition was stated to be critical.

Singh said the paper mill in Tetla village was closed since late March following the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown. Workers were cleaning the tank in a bid to resume operations without safety masks.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has asked directed local administration to provide all help to workers.



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