Blast survivors recount horror

Blast survivors recount horror

All that Ganga Prasad, a labourer at the NTPC plant in Unchahar at Raebareli, remembers was that there was a loud explosion and then he heard cries all around him.

"There was a loud explosion in the boiler.....we did not get time to run to safety," Prasad (30), who suffered burns on his arms and other parts of the body, said, as he writhed in pain on his bed at the district hospital in Raebareli.

"Kuch pata hi nahin chala....siren bhi nahin baja...achanak sab ho gaya" (We could not understand...there was no warning...no siren...everything happened all of a sudden," he said, adding that many labourers were dead within minutes of the blast.

It is hard to believe that these were the same labourers, who had celebrated when the sixth unit of the NTPC was inaugurated a few months ago.

Prasad was among the lucky ones, who survived the blast that claimed the lives of 20 labourers and left over 100 injured, some critically, with comparatively minor injuries. Many around him, however, suffered second to third-degree burns and are battling for their life.

Another survivor said that hot ash rained on the labourers, who were working near the boiler. Some bodies were so badly burnt that the rescuers had difficulty in carrying them to the morgues, an eyewitness said.

The scene outside the NTPC plant and at the hospitals was chaotic. Many others anxiously waited for information about their near and dear ones. There were also complaints that NTPC officials were not informing them about their relatives.

Sources in the hospital at Raebareli and Lucknow, where the injured were rushed, said that many labourers are in a critical condition.

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