Rae Bareli NTPC blast: At least 20 killed, scores injured at Unchahar plant

AT least 20 people were killed and 70 injured when a huge explosion ripped a boiler in NTPC’s Unchahar plant in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday afternoon.

The accident involved the 500 MW boiler of the Unchahar project’s brand new Unit 6, which was instructed just six months ago. While the PSU, in its official response, managed that the accident was generated by “hot duct gases and steam” departing from the affected unit, a source involved in the activity said it was provoked by a blast in the boiler unit. The bodies of workers who were in the proximity of Unit 6 at the time of the circumstance were flung several meters from the site due to the strength of the blast, said the source.

“At around 15:30 hrs on 01.11.2017 there was immediate unexpected sound at 20 mt. elevation and there was opening in the corner no. 2 from which hot duct gases and steam escaped affecting the people working around the field,” said the statement issued by NTPC. It added that while around 80 people were pressed to NTPC hospital, “most of them were released after giving first-aid”.  “In the disaster, 8 people perished to the injuries. About 10 persons with serious injuries have been referred to nearby hospitals and to Lucknow to give immediate treatment,” it said.

But Additional Director General, Law and Order (UP Police), Anand Kumar confirmed that 20 people had been stated dead so far. He said the toll may rise as recovery operations were still on. Most of the injured, including three senior NTPC officials, have been referred to Lucknow. UP Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said six of the injured who are sustaining treatment in Lucknow had got 90 % burns.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is in Mauritius on a three-day official visit, has ordered Rs 2 lakh compensation for the families of those killed, Rs 50,000 for the intensely injured, and Rs 25,000 for the other injured, said officials.State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd had instructed the 500 MW Unit 6 of NTPC Ltd’s Feroze Gandhi Unchahar Thermal Power Plant in Uttar Pradesh on April 3 this year. BHEL’s command involved manufacture, supply, erection, and commissioning of boiler, turbine, generator and combined auxiliaries. Earlier, BHEL had commissioned the extant five units of 210 MW each of the thermal plant as well.

The NTPC management has set up a query to investigate the reasons for the accident. Union Power Minister R K Singh declared deep suffering at the loss of lives and said he had directed NTPC Chairman and Managing Director Gurdeep Singh to rush to the site.

Additional Director General, Law and Order (UP Police), Anand Kumar said all available ambulances were pressed into action and the additional district magistrate and additional superintendent of police were at the stain to handle relief and rescue operations. A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team was also shipped to the blast site from the state capital for relief and rescue operations, an official said.

Dr. N K Srivastava, Chief Medical Superintendent, Rae Bareli District Hospital, said 34 of the 37 injured people who were carried to the hospital had been referred to Lucknow. “I was working at the plant when I quickly heard a loud sound. We fell on the ground. There was a big ball of dust… I fell comatose,” said Anil Kumar Yadav, 26, who suffered injuries on his hands and legs.”After the blast, I saw a big fire… I fell comatose,” said Indra Pal, 24, who had injuries on his face and hands.

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