Seven people, including four children, were burnt alive as a massive fire swept through a makeshift colony of migrant construction workers on the outskirts of Hyderabad on Saturday.
The fire broke out after a cooking gas cylinder exploded around 12:30pm in a hut at Gundlapochampally village in Rangareddy district, around 15km from Hyderabad, the police said.
The fire soon engulfed the entire area and gutted more than 100 huts.
At the time of the accident most men and women workers, who were working on a housing project, were away at work, while the old and children were at home. “That explains the death of four children,” said a police official on condition of anonymity.
Workers, however, alleged miscreants set fire to the slum cluster to get the land vacated for development.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy ordered a probe into the incident and directed district collector V Seshadri to extend help to the victims and displaced families.
State home minister P Sabith Indira Reddy, who is also the district minister, visited the area and said the government would provide accommodation to the displaced families.
Reddy announced compensation of Rs 5,000, 20 kg rice and kerosene for each of the displaced families. She said she would also try to get some help under the chief minister's relief fund.
A case will be registered against the company that had hired the labourers, she added.
Around 500 labourers from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa and districts surrounding Hyderabad live in the area.