On Thursday, thirty students and two teachers from a school in Ambalamugal in Ernakulam district, Kerala, were hospitalized after inhaling toxic gas.
Two students are in the Intensive Care Unit.
The gas leak is suspected to be from a refinery belonging to Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) which is situated close to the school. The company has, however, denied any gas leak, say reports.
The gas can be identified only after a detailed investigation by the medical team, reports The New Indian Express.
The students and teachers were taken to hospital on Thursday morning after they complained of nausea, suffocation and headache.
School principal Shini K Shankar told Manorama News that they had noticed a foul smell when they reached the school in the morning.
"But by 9.30am, the smell got worse and the students and teachers began to complain about uneasiness. Soon, we contacted BPCL, but they told us that there was no leak at the plant. The officer assured us that he will enquire about it. We also informed the police and health department officials about the same. By then, a couple of students had lost consciousness," Shini said.
She added that the school has been facing the issue for several years now.
"We have been complaining about the foul smell for many years, but generally we raise a complaint when the smell gets unbearable and BPCL used to take immediate measures to control it," Shini explained.
Students told the media about the strange smell that suddenly filled the classroom, causing discomfort.
‚ÄúThe teacher asked us to cover our noses and mouths with our handkerchiefs. But that did not help. Then she asked us to vacate the classroom. By then some students began to fall unconscious,‚ÄĚ a student said.
Following the incident, Ernakulam district collector Mohammed Y Safirulla has declared a two-day holiday for the school.
Two plants, one belonging to BPCL and another belonging to Fertilizers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd (FACT), are situated close to the school premises.
With this incident, the demand of the local people and school authorities to shift the school to a different location has re-surfaced.