Death toll from NTPC thermal plant blast now 32: Reports have said boiler fans could've caused explosion

The death toll in National Thermal Power Corp (NTPC) plant explosion in Rae Bareli climbed to 32 on Friday morning, PTI quoted the CMD of NTPC as saying. Nine people, including a top officer of the corporation, died during treatment on Thursday.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders descended on the accident site and demanded a judicial probe. Union Power Minister R K Singh also arrived at the site to oversee relief measures in what is one of the worst tragedies at a power plant in recent history, and even came face to face with Rahul Gandhi at one point.

Power producer NTPC shut down the 500 MW unit following the accident.

Union Power Minister R K Singh also arrived at the site to oversee relief measures in what is one of the worst tragedies at a power plant in recent history, and even came face to face with Rahul Gandhi at one point. Singh announced Rs 20 lakh ex-gratia for the next of kin of those killed in the accident at the Unchahar plant in Uttar Pradesh's Rae Bareli.

Injured being taken to hospital after the explosion at the NTPC plant. PTI

Injured being taken to hospital after the explosion at the NTPC plant. PTI

The Centre also ordered a probe by the NTPC's executive director into the incident, while the state administration ordered a magisterial probe.

The National Human Rights Commission has issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government over the deaths.

Nine of the injured in the boiler blast are to be shifted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) and Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi, an official said on Thursday.

Three senior officials of the NTPC who suffered critical injuries are being flown in an air ambulance to Medanta Hospital in Gurugram.

Doctors warned the toll was likely to rise as more than a dozen contractual labourers were battling for life with more than 90 per cent burn wounds.

On Thursday, contractual labourers at the Feroze Gandhi Unchahar Thermal Power Station here raised slogans against the NTPC management. They claimed they had warned about an impending disaster at unit six as the temperature near the furnace had been steadily rising.

The NTPC has launched a probe into the incident, which it said took place due to "excess ash deposition" in the furnace. The state government has ordered a magisterial probe.

Union Power Minister R K Singh also arrived at the site to oversee relief measures in what is one of the worst tragedies at a power plant in recent history, and even came face to face with Rahul Gandhi at one point.

Singh announced Rs 20 lakh ex-gratia for the next of kin of those killed in the accident at the Unchahar plant in Uttar Pradesh's Rae Bareli. The Centre also ordered a probe by the NTPC's executive director into the incident, while the state administration ordered a magisterial probe.

Among the deceased was assistant general manager (AGM) at NTPC's Unchahar power plant Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, who died at a private hospital in Lucknow. "Sanjeev Kumar Sharma died around 6 pm in spite of best efforts by doctors," said his college mate and secretary of vocational education and skill development of Uttar Pradesh Bhuvnesh Kumar said.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a break from campaigning in poll-bound Gujarat and met the victims and their families.

The Rae Bareli Lok Sabha constituency is represented by his mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

His office tweeted, "Labourers have said that the accident took place due to negligence and that there should be a judicial probe into the accident."

"I was sad to see the pain of victims of the NTPC incident and their families should get better compensation and government jobs, while the injured should get all possible help," the Congress vice-president said.

Rahul Gandhi was accompanied by senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and UP Congress chief Raj Babbar. Azad claimed that a judicial inquiry was important as in the case of a probe by a government agency, facts could be concealed.

Uttar Pradesh Energy Minister Shrikant Sharma tweeted, "The Centre has constituted a committee to probe the accident. The committee headed by executive director of NTPC will submit its report in 30 days."

During his visit to the site, Rahul Gandhi was heard making enquiries about the number of workers deputed at the plant.

"People are saying that it (the plant unit) was run early (before schedule). It should not have been run that way. We will demand a probe," he told reporters.

Union Power minister Singh announced a compensation amount of Rs 20 lakh to the next of kin of those killed observing that the earlier ex-gratia was not enough.

"I am of the view that the ex-gratia which was earlier announced was not enough. Rs 20 lakh compensation will be given to the next of kin of those who died in the accident, while the seriously injured will get Rs 10 lakh and those who sustained minor injuries will be given Rs 2 lakh," he told reporters.

This amount is in addition to the compensation provided under the workmen compensation rules, he said. In addition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of the deceased.

"Prime Minister @narendramodi has approved an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who have lost their lives due to the accident at the NTPC plant in Raebareli, Uttar Pradesh. PM has approved Rs 50,000 each for those injured due to the accident," the prime minister's office said on Twitter.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is abroad on an official tour, has also announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured besides Rs 25,000 for the other injured workers.

The opposition Samajwadi Party (SP) demanded a probe by a retired high court judge into the boiler explosion.

The families of the deceased should be given Rs 50 lakh as compensation, while those injured should get Rs 10 lakh, senior SP leader Ahmed Hasan said.


Updated Date: Nov 03, 2017 19:57 PM

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