NTPC blast toll rises to 30; Centre says no human error

Cong demands judicial probe

NTPC blast toll rises to 30; Centre says no human error
The toll in Wednesday’s blast at National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) plant in Uttar Pradesh’s Raebareli district has gone up to 30 with ten more labourers succumbing to their injuries in hospitals.

The Centre rejected assertions that the blast was the result of ‘’human error,’’ while the Opposition Congress demanded a judicial probe.

The toll could rise further as, according to the doctors, the condition of at least a dozen labourers continued to be critical with many of them being put on life support.

“About half a dozen labourers have sustained more than 90 % burn injuries….they have been put on ventilators….some others, who have suffered over 90 % burn injuries,  are also in critical condition,’’ said a doctor at the KG Medical University hospital here.

Three critically injured NTPC officers were sent for specialised treatment at Delhi and Gurgaon by air ambulance, officials said.

Politicians, including senior central and state ministers and Opposition leaders, made a beeline to the NTPC plant at Raebareli and various hospitals, where the injured were being treated.

Union minister of state for power R K Singh announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs 20 lakh for the next of kin of each of the deceased.

Singh rejected assertions that “human error” was the cause and said that the Unchahar unit was one of the best in the country. He also denied that there was any pressure on the officials to increase the generation.

He said that an inquiry had already been ordered into the incident and a report would be submitted within 30 days.

BHEL machinery

The minister, however, asked the public sector Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), which supplied some machinery to the NTPC plant, to ‘’check’’ if they were of good quality.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who cut short his Gujarat visit and reached Raebareli on Thursday visited the district hospital and also met the kin of the deceased and injured labourers.

Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who also visited the site, said his party demanded a judicial probe to ascertain the true reason behind the blast.

As many as 30 labourers were killed and over 100 others injured in the blast at the ash pipe of the 500 MW under-trial sixth unit at Unchahar.

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