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NTPC boiler blast: Death toll rises to 26

PTI New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018 Published on November 02, 2017

Labourers at the blast site in late night where at least 16 persons died and around 50 injured after a boiler tube exploded at the NTPC unit in Unchahar in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt   -  The Hindu

Rahul Gandhi meets families of victims in Raebareli

The toll in the massive explosion in a boiler at the state-run power giant NTPC’s Unchahar plant here has risen to 26, a senior official said today.

Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi and Union Minister of State for Power RK Singh visited the accident site.

Rahul Gandhi has taken a break from his ongoing ‘Navsarjan Yatra’ in poll-bound Gujarat and is visiting Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh to meet the families of victims of the explosion. He visited the district hospital and NTPC premises and enquired about the incident from officers present.

He was accompanied by senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress state president Raj Babbar.

“How many workers were working there?” he was heard asking officers at the Unchahar unit of NTPC.

“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,” Rahul told reporters. Azad demanded a high-level probe by an outside agency to bring out the facts.

Raebareli is the parliamentary constitutency of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, who has expressed shock at the “terrible tragedy“. Azad said she has been discharged from hospital day before yesterday. "Had she been well, she would have visited the families of the victims," he said.

Two issues

Asked about the incident, RK Singh said there could be two issues—design or maintenance. “We are looking into both the aspects,” he said.

On charges that the plant unit was commissioned ahead of time, he said it was not done in haste. “The work was completed before March and after two-three months of trial, it was commissioned,” he said.

Singh also said the compensation by NTPC had been raised from Rs five lakh to Rs 20 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased.

Adityanath abroad

While Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath is abroad, Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma and UP Power Minister Srikant Sharma visited Rae Bareli today.

UP Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar told reporters in Lucknow that the toll in the NTPC boiler blast has risen to 26.

The NTPC has initiated a probe to ascertain the reasons behind the blast. The Chief Minister had yesterday announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured.

In a statement, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) has said that at unit number six of its Unchahar plant, there was a sudden abnormal sound at 20 meter elevation around 3:30 yesterday afternoon.There was an opening in corner number two from which gases and steam “escaped” affecting the people working around the area, the central public sector undertaking said.

It added that around 80 people were rushed to the NTPC Hospital, most of whom were discharged after first-aid.

The 1,550-MW plant supplies electricity to nine states, according to officials. It employs around 870 people.

“Deeply pained”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that he was “deeply pained” by the accident at the power plant. He approved ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of those killed. “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,” PMO India said on Twitter.





Union Power Minister R K Singh, through social media posts, expressed deep anguish at the loss of lives and said that he had directed NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Gurdeep Singh to rush to the site.

On Wednesday, Union Power Minister K Singh, through social media posts, expressed deep anguish at the loss of lives and said that he had directed NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Gurdeep Singh to rush to the site.

The explosion triggered panic among the employees who ran helter—skelter.

Such explosions can generate searing heat, an official said.

An injured employee undergoing treatment at a hospital said that a sudden gush of hot gas with contents of ash—like material engulfed him at the NTPC plant.

The man said he was unable to understand what had happened and found himself on a hospital bed with his body scalded all over, when he regained consciousness.

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Published on November 02, 2017
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