This paper had recently reported how a 41-year-old died after inhaling noxious fumes emanating from rotting beef in a container lying untouched for four years. Post that report, it was learnt that 300 such disputed containers some containing perishable food items were lying in a container yard at Uran, posing a huge health risk to the populace.

To rewind to the report, on July 27, 41-year-old Madan Patil, an electrician at the container terminal for 10 years, was called in at the section handled by AllCargo Logistics, to restore power supply to two refrigerated containers. The containers, which contained buffalo meat, had been lying at the terminal since 2011.

A liquid, from which an unbearable stench was emanating, started leaking from the container. The smell was so foul that Patil fell unconscious on the spot. He died in hospital just a couple of days later, and his death was put down to respiratory illness.

It is hugely unfortunate that precious human life was lost in what could have been an avoidable tragedy. That somebody could lose their life because of the stench of rotting meat, should make those responsible hang their heads in shame.

What is of concern though, is that there seems to be little acknowledgement or accountability for the death. What is apparent is that even with one death and more such containers waiting to be unlocked in the terminal, there is little sense of urgency and purpose to find out what is in the containers and dispose of them, if need be. Instead we have the familiar rigmarole of notices being sent, waiting for permissions and clearance and each agency passing the buck to the other.

Somebody needs to step in quickly to ensure that we do not have another death because of these unopened containers. There has to be somebody responsible to open them, check what is inside and then dispose it if dangerous. A potential health time bomb is ticking in Uran. The authorities cannot simply sit there waiting for it to explode.