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Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Dear (s)

Kurukshetra - "The Battle of Brains" is the International Techno-Management Festival of the College of Engineering, Guindy. The four-day event is primarily focused on providing a challenging platform for intellectual brains from all over the world to exhibit their talents and assimilate new ideas.

This attracted a different group of visitors as well – the second generation victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy are in town to urge Anna University to return the Rs 5 lakh sponsorship obtained from Dow Chemicals, the company that presently owns the Union Carbide factory that caused the gas disaster in 1984. According to an alumnus, this is the third consecutive year that Dow is sponsoring the event.

For those with short memories, Bhopal disaster was an industrial catastrophe that took place at a pesticide plant owned and operated by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India on December 3, 1984. Around 12 AM, the plant released methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other toxins, resulting in the exposure of over 500,000 people.

Dangerous Goods are Substances and Cargo, which, based on their nature, properties, and behavior as well as conditions, may cause, during the transport, a Hazard in particular to the public safety , the health of the people, the damages and loss of the infrastructure and equipment, also the negative effects and contamination to the environment. Transport of dangerous goods needs to be regulated in order to prevent, as far as possible, accidents to persons or property and damage to the environment, the means of transport employed or to other goods.

There are codes and symbols associated with hazardous cargo. The colours of each diamond in a way has reference to its hazard ie: Flammable = red, Explosive = orange, because mixing red (flammable) with yellow (oxidising agent) creates orange. Non Flammable Non Toxic Gas = green, due to all compressed air vessels being this colour in France after World War II. France is where the diamond system of HazMat identification originated.
In a sad case of transportation of cargo on a bumpy road, human life was lost in Chennai. On Tuesday evening (12 01 10), a woman was killed and scores were admitted into various hospital arising out of accident at suburban Thirumullaivoyal. A cloud of yellowish gas engulfed the locality in Manikandapuram on the CTH Road as the cylinder of liquid chlorine started spewing gas after a TATA Ace mini-truck in which the cylinders were being transported met with an accident. Six cylinders of liquid chlorine were being transported from a petroleum company in Manali to INS Rajali in Arakkonam. While driving on a bumpy patch of the road, ravaged and left unmotorable by the recent rains, between Ambattur and Thirumullaivoyal, the driver lost control of the vehicle and it rammed into an electricity transformer near a petrol.

Going by newspaper reports, one of the cylinders flew up in the air and got entangled in the overhead wires. The others fell and rolled and scattered. One of these cylinders started leaking, triggering panic and a near stampede. All those who inhaled the gas were rushed to hospitals, 10 to a hospital near Rakki theatre in Ambattur, including a two-monthold baby. Doctors referred the child to the government children’s hospital and the others to Kilpauk Medical College.
Chlorine from the Greek word meaning 'pale green'), is the chemical element with atomic number 17 and symbol Cl. In its elemental form (Cl2 or "dichlorine") under standard conditions, chlorine is a powerful oxidant and is used in bleaching and disinfectants, as well as an essential reagent in the chemical industry. As a common disinfectant, chlorine compounds are used in swimming pools to keep them clean and sanitary. In the upper atmosphere, chlorine-containing molecules such as chlorofluorocarbons have been implicated in the destruction of the ozone layer.
Chlorine is an essential raw material for many industrial processes and has been described as the single material on which the production of other chemicals most depends. Millions of tonnes of chlorine are produced in Europe and a large proportion is transported by rail or road tanker. They claim with pride that in almost 60 years, there has not been a single fatal accident in Europe involving bulk transport of chlorine.
Industrially, elemental chlorine is usually produced by the electrolysis of sodium chloride dissolved in water. Along with chlorine, this chloralkali process yields hydrogen gas and sodium hydroxide.
Chlorine's principal applications are in the production of a wide range of industrial and consumer products - used in making plastics, solvents for dry cleaning and metal degreasing, textiles, agrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, insecticides, dyestuffs, household cleaning products, etc.Chlorine is an important chemical for water purification (such as water treatment plants), in disinfectants, and in bleach..
Chlorine gas, also known as bertholite, was first used as a weapon in World War I by Germany on April 22, 1915 in the Second Battle of Ypres.
As has happened quite often, it is reckless driving, careless handling coupled with poor road conditions that has caused this loss

With regards
S Sampathkumar.


  1. somehow Bhopal continues to haunt - though the victims got nothing still - govind

  2. Saw a vehicle on road going in front with something. Fear steeped in due to your article - Viji

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  4. Anything is possible to be transported with our transporters nowadays. The good news is that most of those involved in such industry has all of their workers TDG training certified. Meaning those people handling such dangerous chemicals knows what they are dealing with, knows how to handle them and knows how to avoid mishaps and accidents with them.

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