Three die after inhaling toxic gas in Bengal tannery 

Kolkata, Dec 7 (IANS) Three workers were killed and two others taken ill on Monday after inhaling poisonous gas that leaked from a tannery drainage line in West Bengal’s South 24-Parganas district, police said.

The accident happened at the Calcutta Leather Complex in Bantala in the district when five workers were cleaning a drainage line of a tannery.

“The gas had accumulated somehow and when they were cleaning the drain, it escaped. Three workers have been killed and two others have been hospitalised,” Additional Superintendent of Police (East Zone) Arijit Sinha said.

According to police, the workers were cleaning the drain without any safety measures.

The accident led to other workers staging demonstration, demanding monetary compensation for the victims’ kin.

The accident has taken a political colour with Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) state president Shyamal Chakraborty blaming West Bengal Disaster Minister Javed Khan and his son Imran Khan for turning the industrial complex which houses over 200 tanneriesinto an ‘accident prone’ unit.

Imran is the secretary of Calcutta Leather Complex Tanners Association (CLCTA).

“There are hardly any safety measures in the complex. Thanks to the father-son duo, the entire complex has become accident prone. Workers here are forced to work in unsafe conditions and often meet with accidents,” said Chakraborty.

Chakraborty also threatened a protest movement if the families of the victims are not paid adequate compensation.

The minister, however, rubbished the charges.

“The accident is unfortunate but this has nothing to do either with me or my son. Police are probing the matter and anybody found guilty will be punished,” Khan said.

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