National Green Tribunal’s (NGT) southern Bench is reported to have taken a suo motu cognisance of an ammonia gas leak from the fertiliser unit of Coromandel International Ltd at Ennore near Chennai even as the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) attempted to allay the fear over the leakage.

TNPCB said in a statement that the toxic gas leak was completed and arrested, and there was no need for the public to fear it.

It was reported that ammonia gas leaked from the fertiliser unit of Coromandel International on Tuesday night, causing panic among the people in the region. TNPCB also said an inspection team recorded the ammonia level in the ambient air near the unit’s material gate.

The toxic gas leak also caused a lot of discomfort for people by way of breathing difficulties and skin irritations, etc. About 60 people in places such as Periakuppam and Chinakuppam were affected, and they were given treatment at the nearby government and private hospitals. About 52 people are still under observation in those hospitals.

However, with the assistance of experts, the leakage was stopped in 20 minutes, and the District administration and police jointly arranged for ambulances for the affected population, according to the statement.

A technical committee comprising experts from TNPCB, NEERI, and CLRI has been formed to submit an initial inspection report in 24 hours and a detailed report in 3 days.

Coromandel International has instructed to resume ammonia transfer operations from ships only after a complete inspection of the pipeline and undertaking due processes.

On Wednesday morning, Coromandel International said it brought the situation to normalcy. “All are safe and normalcy is restored,” it said.

It explained that the company noticed an abnormality on Tuesday night in the ammonia uploading subsea pipeline near the shoreside, outside the plant premises. By activating the Standard Operating Procedure, the company has isolated the ammonia system facility and brought the situation to normalcy.