As NTPC blast toll rises, Gandhi pauses his Gujarat campaign

RSTV Bureau
Smoke billowing out of NTPC's Unchahar Power Plant where a blast took place in a boiler, in Raebareli district on Wednesday. At least ten people are feared dead and several others have been injured after a boiler went off at the plant.

Smoke billowing out of NTPC’s Unchahar Power Plant where a blast took place in a boiler, in Raebareli district on Wednesday. At least ten people are feared dead and several others have been injured after a boiler went off at the plant.

With death toll in NTPC boiler explosion rising, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi took a break from his Gujarat election campaign to meet the victims and their families in Rae Bareli, the site of thermal power plant. Addressing the media after meeting the victims recuperating at the hospital and their kin, Gandhi demand a probe into the incident.

“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,” the Congress vice president told reporters.

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

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

26 persons have been killed in the tragic incident, while more than 100 are undergoing treatment at the hospital.

His mother and Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who represents Rae Bareli in the Lok Sabha, in her condolence message said she wanted to be with the families of the victims to share their pain in this hour of grief, but could not do so due to her indisposition.

In a latest development, Prime Minister Modi announced ex-gratia compensation for the victims’ families.

“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,” the PMO India handle tweeted.

Raebareli: Labourers who sustained burn injuries at NTPC's Unchahar Power Plant being brought to Raebareli district hospital for treatment, Nov 1, 2017. Photo - PTI

Raebareli: Labourers who sustained burn injuries at NTPC’s Unchahar Power Plant being brought to Raebareli district hospital for treatment, Nov 1, 2017.
Photo – PTI

The NTPC has initiated a probe to ascertain the reasons behind the blast. 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, and employs around 870 people.

(With inputs from Agencies)