Mysterious gas leak


PRECIOUS lives have been lost in the gas leak incident in Karachi’s Keamari area but strangely enough there are yet no clues as to the source of the gas and how to immune the local residents against its lethal effects. Residents of Keamari and other adjoining localities where gas has reached through wind are protesting over administrative negligence, demanding resignation of the authorities concerned and seeking proper compensation.
Presence of gas in a wide area and its prevalence for days is a serious issue but it is all the more serious that the relevant federal and provincial departments should remain clueless of such a big magnitude. A laboratory report has found symptoms of soybean dust (allergen caused by unloading of soybeans in the nearby harbour) in the bloods of the affected people and as a precautionary measure unloading of the commodity has temporarily been halted. But the report seems to be nothing more than claims of Railway Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmad that fire in Tezgam Express in October last year was caused by gas cylinder brought by Tableeghi Jamaat, which proved to be false in a neutral inquiry. Allergy and asthma like problems caused by soybean dust is something else and visible presence of gas in a wide area is something quite different. Residents also claim that the foul smell reduces during daylight hours and increases manifolds at night and is spreading to more areas through wind. There are reports that experts from Pakistan Army and classified organizations have been called to investigate the reported gas leak and determine the source of the deadly agent and hopefully a clear picture would emerge. The provincial government was, no doubt, taking whatever measures it could to handle the crisis including evacuation of people at the instance of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and provision of medical care to the affected people. However, heirs of those who lost their lives should get adequate compensation and there should be comprehensive survey of what is going on in different localities to ensure safety of people against any hazardous or illegal activity.

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