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Rahul Gandhi arrives in Rae Bareli, meets victims of NTPC tragedy

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi has cut-short his Surat trip to visit Rae Bareli as 20 people have been confirmed dead in a massive explosion at a National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC)'s Unchahar power plant in the district.

He has reached Rae Bareli. He has met the NTPC boiler blast victims at the hospital and has even expressed grief over the death of 22 people. The Congress V-P will now visit the blast site.

He would be resuming his 'Yatra' in Gujarat?s Surat later on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile Rae Bareli DM spoke on NTPC explosion and informed that a team of Magistrate and a Technical Officer has been constituted to conduct a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

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.

"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.

Principal Secretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said that 90-100 people were injured in the blast.

In a statement, the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) said that at unit number six of its Unchahar plant, there was a sudden abnormal sound at 20-meter elevation around 3.30 pm in the afternoon.

There was an opening in corner number two from which hot flue 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 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was "deeply pained" by the accident at the power plant and added that the situation was being closely monitored.

"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 & officials are ensuring normalcy is restored: PM @narendramodi," the prime minister's office tweeted.