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2 killed in Dr Reddy's nitrogen gas leak

BS Reporter  |  Hyderabad 

Two persons died after inhaling poisonous gas at a manufacturing facility belonging to city-based pharmaceutical major Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. The incident took place on Tuesday night at the company’s Unit-III, which was set up recently at Bollaram in Medak district of Andhra Pradesh.

The deceased have been identified as Chiranjeevi Sridhar Reddy (38), a production chemist, and Deepak Jena (22), a contract labourer from Orissa. Both of them were on night duty. The police have registered a case and are carrying out investigations.

The Bollaram facility is a US Food & Drug Administration-approved plant and produces active pharmaceutical ingredients. It makes several products, including Omeprazole used in the treatment of peptic ulcer.

The production of drugs and other products at the plant has not been affected due to the gas leak, a company official said.

According to initial information, the leak was of nitrogen gas. The plant suffered a power outage at the time and the leaked gas could not be pumped out. The two affected persons were rushed to a nearby hospital, but the doctors declared them “brought dead”.

“We are gathering information about the accident. The cause of death is not known yet,” said Jagadish, a sub-inspector at Bollaram police station. This was the first accident at Unit-III.

At the time of the accident, Dr Reddy’s stated in a press release, the deceased were engaged in micronisation of Omeprazole powder. No one else was affected.

According to the company, the incident took place in the clean room located in one of the production blocks. Access to that area has been restricted.

“Investigations by multiple authorities, including the Factories Inspectorate, the Drugs Control Administration, Hyderabad, and the police, are in progress and we will share full details once the investigations are concluded,” the company stated. It expressed condolences to the families of the victims.

The company is likely to announce compensation for the kin of the deceased based on the investigation reports and its own assessment of the cause of death. It will also conduct its own probe.

Dr Reddy’s stock ended the day at Rs 1,677.4, down 0.61 per cent from the previous close of Rs 1,687.75 on the BSE. During the day, it touched a low of Rs 1,618 and a high of Rs 1,710.4.

First Published: Thu, December 23 2010. 00:07 IST