Massive explosions in two chemical factories at the Baidhan industrial estate in Singrauli district, 780 km northeast of Bhopal, on Sunday evening left at least five people dead and 40 injured.
“Rescue operations are on,” said A. K. Shrivastava, Inspector General of Police, Rewa range, confirming the figures.
The blasts occurred at around 7.30 pm at two private factories, Indian Detonators Ltd and Rajasthan Chemical Explosives Ltd, both of which manufacture detonators used in mining, and other explosives. There are a number of coal mines in the region.
Fires were still raging in both factories three hours after they began.
A number of people are feared trapped inside the burning buildings. Those rescued have been taken to nearby hospitals.
There are a host of other factories, manufacturing similar material, in the cluster. There were fears that the fires could spread.
“One blast was so powerful, people in a radius of five km around the factory felt the tremors,” a local resident, Kamlesh Dixit, told HT on telephone.
He suggested the toll of dead and injured could rise.