(UTTAR PRADESH, LANKAPUVATH) –22 people were killed and dozens were scalded as a boiler exploded Wednesday afternoon in the newest power generating unit at a state-run NTPC plant in Raebareli in Uttar Pradesh. The number of dead and injured may rise as many are believed to be trapped inside the unit. Many of the injured have suffered severe burns.
The boiler pipe burst in the 500 MW power generating unit that started operating in March at the plant in Unchahar, which is nearly 30 years old. A massive fire broke out and a huge ball of dust rose after the explosion, making rescue difficult.
“…there was sudden abnormal sound at 20 mt. elevation and there was an opening…from which hot flue gases and steam escaped affecting the people working around the area,” the NTPC said in a statement.
The plant has now been shut down. A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team has also been sent to help in the rescue effort.
The injured are being treated at two hospitals including one within the NTPC campus. Those with the worst burn injuries are being taken to hospitals in Lucknow, around 110 km away.
The Unchahar plant started generating power in 1988 with five units of 210 MW each. The sixth unit was commissioned this year.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to say that officials are ensuring that normalcy is restored. “Deeply pained by the accident at the NTPC plant in Raebareli. My thoughts are with the bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. The situation is being closely monitored and officials are ensuring normalcy is restored,” he tweeted.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is in Mauritius on a three-day official visit, has ordered Rs. 2 lakh for the families of the dead and Rs. 50,000 for the badly injured.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who is campaigning in Gujarat for next month’s elections, said he will today visit Raebareli, which is also his mother and Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s constituency. “Due to the unfortunate NTPC accident, I will visit Rae Bareli tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Will join Gujarat Navsarjan Yatra in the afternoon,” he tweeted.
“As of now, the immediate priority for us is to rush those injured to the best possible treatment and that is being done. All possible resources are being mobilized,” said Anand Kumar, one of the senior most police officers in the state.