Strong bleaching powder responsible for fire at KMSCL warehouses distributed among hospitals

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Fire at KMSCL warehouse in Kollam. (file photo)

Kochi: It has come to light that a significant portion of the strong bleaching powder stock stored at the Kerala Medical Services Corporation (KMSCL) warehouses, which was determined to be highly flammable and deemed unsuitable for use by the authorities, has already been distributed to hospitals across the state.

59 batches of bleaching powder distributed via Karunya pharmacies have been banned by the officials after fire accidents at KMSCL warehouses in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Alappuzha.

It has been reported that a substantial quantity of the bleaching powder required by hospitals for over a year has already been supplied to them.

A batch of bleaching powder may contain bleaching powder up to 10,000 to 20,000 kilograms. It’s widely alleged that the corporation delays supply of vital medicines, resulting in their shortage in hospitals. In such a scenario, KMSCL’s ‘proactiveness’ in supplying spurious bleaching powder packets is sure to raise eyebrows.

Suspicion looms over the ‘bleaching powder’ contract, as the authorities have cut off their ties with local suppliers recently and are now purchasing the stocks from Lucknow-based Banke Bihari chemicals.

The bleaching powder stocks procured from the company has now come under scrutiny.

The medical services corporation has issued a memo, banning the use of the newly procured bleaching powder, until further notice. A ‘consistency study’ will be done on the compound.

The decision will adversely affect the monsoon preparations across the state, as bleaching powder is usually distributed for cleansing purposes.

Although bleaching powder itself is not an inflammable substance, Dr. M. P. Sukumaran Nair, former Managing Director of Travancore Cochin Medicals, cautions that an excessive or disproportionate chlorine content in bleaching powder can potentially react with other inflammable substances in the vicinity, leading to fire accidents

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