Sanitisation work started on Sunday at RR Venkatapuram village near Visakhapatnam and four surrounding villages, after a gas leak from a chemical plant claimed 12 lives.
Stating that the situation came under complete control three days after the tragedy, officials said that around 400-odd people undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the city after being affected by the styrene vapour leakage from the LG Polymers plant in the early hours of Thursday were recovering quickly.
The company announced the styrene liquid has solidified, sealing the chance of any vapour coming out further but the district administration said that people should return to the villages only after the sanitisation process was completed and other safety measures were put in place.
Experts from New Delhi and other places were closely monitoring the situation at the plant, including the styrene levels and temperature.
Visakhapatnam district Collector V Vinay Chand, quoting the experts, said that there was no safety threat at the plant now as the vapour leakage reached zero level. He will take the experts views into consideration before letting people back into their villages, the Collector told reporters.
He, however, asked people not to return to the villages yet as the sanitisation process would take a couple of days.
Only after this is complete and safety measures are in place, should people return to their homes, he said.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, who reviewed the incident at this camp residence in Amaravati, was informed that everything was safe in the villages around the LG plant.
The Chief Minister told officials to let the people return to their homes only after all safety measures were taken.
Visakhapatnam District medical and health officer Tirumala Rao said 411 people, affected by the gas leak, were undergoing treatment in various hospitals in the city and were recovering quickly.
"Based on the latest situation in the villages and instructions of the district administration, we will discharge the recovered patients. Till then we will make arrangements for them in the King George Hospital," the DMHO said.
LG plant General Manager G Mohan Rao said the styrene liquid has solidified and the situation was fully under control. All steps were being taken to maintain the required temperature in the styrene storage tanks, both at the plant and at the Visakhapatnam Port.
Twelve people were killed and hundreds taken ill, many collapsing to the ground as they tried to escape the toxic vapours after the gas leaked from the plant in the early hours of Thursday and quickly spread to villages in a five kilometre radius.