32 dead, many injured as boiler explodes in NTPC’s Unchahar plant in Rae Bareli

first_imgGoogle Maps image locates NTPC unit at Unnchar in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli district.   At least 32 persons died and more than 97 were injured, many sustaining serious burns, after a boiler tube exploded at the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) unit in Unchahar in Rae Bareli district of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday.Workers and engineering staff were active at the 550 MW unit at the time of the accident, which left thick smoke billowing out of the plant.Rescue work is still on and district officials, police personnel and CISF jawans are trying to recover the bodies.The office of the Director-General of Police confirmed 20 deaths so far and the death toll, it is feared, could go up.According to U.P. ADGP Anand Kumar, around 22 victims with severe burn injuries have been referred to Lucknow, said he said adding, another 15 victims are in Rae Bareli hospital. Some victims were also sent to Allahabad.”Total number of casualties could go up once the blades of the Boiler are cut. NDRF Team are at site,” Mr. Kumar said.The identity of the victims is still not known. Most of them are believed to be workers. The NTPC management, which ordered a probe, said an abnormal sound was recorded at 3.30 p.m. in unit 6 of the plant.“There was a sudden abnormal sound at 20 mt. elevation and there was opening in corner no.2 from which hot flue gases and steam escaped affecting the people working around the area,” the NTPC said in a statement.Mr. Kumar said ‘prima facie’ the cause of the explosion appeared to be the pressure built up in the boiler due to gathering of ash.U.P. offers ex gratiaUP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is in Mauritius, directed Principal Secretary of the Home Department to oversee the rescue operations. Terming the accident as “extremely sad”, Mr. Adityanath announced an ex gratia compensation of ₹2 lakh each to the family of the dead, ₹50,000 to those grievously injured and ₹25,000 for other injured.  Senior officials have rushed to the spot. An NDRF team consisting of 32 personnel have left Lucknow for Unchahar.Nearby trauma centres and hospitals are on alert to give immediate relief to patients of the tragedy, said U.P. Health Minister Sidharthnath Singh.Mr. Kumar, the ADGP, said prima facie the boiler burst due to built up pressure caused by the gathering of ash. “Prima facie, what the NTPC management has told me, ash gathered in the furnace of the boiler, which should not have happened. Due to gathering of ash, pressure built up and the boiler burst. [As for] the reasons why it happened, this is a technical probe and NTPC officials will do it,” Mr. Kumar said. The boiler was installed just six months ago.Describing it as an “unfortunate accident,” the NTPC said: “In NTPC Unchahar, Unit No. 6 at around 1530 hrs on 01.11.2017 there was sudden abnormal sound at 20 mt. elevation and there was opening in corner no.2 from which hot flue gases and steam escaped affecting the people working around the area.””An enquiry has been set up by NTPC management to investigate the reasons for the accident. All possible measures are being taken to provide immediate relief to the families of affected people in close coordination with the district administration,” the firm said through a media statement.Expressing her condolences to the victims of the NTPC boiler accident, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, in a statement said, “In your hour of crisis, I stand by you and pray for the speedy recovery of the injured. I wanted come  personally and share your grief but unable to do so as I am not well. I express my sympathies and condolences to the affected families.” She represents Rae Bareli in Lok Sabha.(With inputs from Sandeep Phukan and TCA Sharad Raghavan from New Delhi)last_img