NATION SHOCKED AS BOILER BLAST AT NTPC’S PLANT IN UP KILLS 25 + AND INJURES MANY MORE

NTPC 1A massive explosion ripped a boiler at the state-run power giant NTPC's Unchahar plant in Uttar Pradesh's Rae Bareli district on Wednesday, November 1st killing at least 25 people and injuring nearly 100, officials said. Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said that 90-100 people were injured in the blast. The Indian express reported 20 killed and 70 injured in their morning publication on the next day. "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," said the statement issued by NTPC. It added that while around 80 people were rushed to NTPC hospital, "most of them were discharged after giving first-aid".  "In the mishap, 8 people succumbed to the injuries. About 10 persons with serious injuries have been referred to nearby hospitals and to Lucknow to provide immediate treatment," it said.

 According to eyewitness reports, the blast happened at around 3.15 in the afternoon. The NTPC initiated a probe to ascertain the reasons behind the blast, while Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured, they added. Among those injured are three additional general managers of the NTPC plant, who are undergoing treatment in Lucknow, sources told newspersons soon after. "Twenty deaths have been confirmed by the district administration. Twenty-two people with severe burns have been referred to Lucknow. Another 15 are admitted to a Rae Bareli hospital," Uttar Pradesh's ADG (Law and Order) Anand Kumar said. He said that the number of casualties could rise.

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

The accident involved the 500 MW boiler of the Unchahar project's brand new Unit 6, which was commissioned just six months ago. The incident was unprecedented and it forced Congress VP Rahul Gandhi to cut short his election tour and rush to Rae Bareilly which has been an electoral pocket bureau of the Gandhi family for a long time. The CM Yogi Adityanath too was abroad at the time the mishap occurred.  While the PSU, in its official response, maintained that the accident was triggered by "hot flue gases and steam" escaping from the affected unit, a source involved in the exercise said it was caused by a blast in the boiler unit. “The bodies of workers who were in the vicinity of Unit 6 at the time of the incident were flung several metres from the site due to the intensity of the blast,” said an on-site source.

There were conflicting reports from NTPC and other authorities. Additional Director General, Law and Order (UP Police), Anand Kumar confirmed that 20 people had been declared dead so far. He said the toll may rise as rescue 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 undergoing treatment in Lucknow had suffered 90 per cent burns.

Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who was 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 grievously injured, and Rs 25,000 for the other injured, officials confirmed. State-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd had commissioned 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 mandate involved manufacture, supply, erection and commissioning of boiler, turbine, generator and associated auxiliaries. Earlier, BHEL had commissioned the existing five units of 210 MW each of the thermal plant as well.

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 spot to supervise relief and rescue operations. A National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team was also despatched to the explosion 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 brought to the hospital had been referred to Lucknow. "I was working at the plant when I suddenly heard a loud sound. We fell on the ground. There was a huge ball of dust… I fell unconscious," said Anil Kumar Yadav, 26, who suffered injuries on his hands and legs."After the blast, I saw a huge fire… I fell unconscious," said Indra Pal, 24, who had injuries on his face and hands.

Highlight: According to eyewitness reports, the blast happened at around 3.15 in the afternoon. The NTPC initiated a probe to ascertain the reasons behind the blast, while Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the families of those killed and Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured, they added. Among those injured are three additional general managers of the NTPC plant, who are undergoing treatment in Lucknow, sources told newspersons soon after.

AGM SHARMA DIES IN HOSPITAL AS NTPC BOILER BLAST TOLL RISES TO 29

The death toll in the NTPC plant explosion climbed to 29 as nine people including a top officer of the corporation died during treatment even as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi and other opposition leaders visited the accident site and demanded a judicial probe after assessing the situation on the ground. Among the deceased was Assistant General Manager (AGM) at NTPC's Unchahar power plant Sanjeev Kumar Sharma, who died at a private hospital in Lucknow. "Sanjeev Kumar Sharma died around 6 pm in spite of best efforts by doctors," said his college mate and secretary of vocational education and skill development of Uttar Pradesh Bhuvnesh Kumar said.

Union Power Minister RK Singh also arrived at the site to oversee relief measures in what is one of the worst tragedies at a power plant in recent history, and even came face to face with Rahul at one point. Singh announced Rs 20 lakh ex-gratia for the next of kin of those killed in the accident .

The Centre also ordered a probe by the NTPC's executive director into the incident, while the state administration ordered a magisterial probe. "Twenty-nine people have succumbed to injuries and 85 were being treated at hospitals in Rae Bareli and Lucknow," the NTPC said in an official release.

NTPC BOILER BLAST-APATHY, NEGLIGENCE OR ACT OF GOD?

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