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Chinese staff flee; authorities on look out

Authorities at the Mana Airport in Raipur are on an alert to stop Chinese nationals, employed at a Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd plant, from fleeing after an under-construction chimney collapsed on Wednesday killing at least 45 people.

india Updated: Sep 27, 2009 18:30 IST

Authorities at the Mana Airport in Raipur are on an alert to stop Chinese nationals, employed at a Bharat Aluminium Company Ltd (Balco) plant, from fleeing after an under-construction chimney collapsed on Wednesday killing at least 45 people, police said Sunday.

"About 70 Chinese nationals, mostly engineers, have left Korba town amid rising death toll of workers," a police source told IANS.

The Chinese nationals were employed in Korba town, 250 km north of here, by Shandong Electric Power Construction Corporation (SEPCO) - a China-based company, which was given the contract to construct a 1,200-MW thermal power plant.

SEPCO, in turn, had given a contract to Gannon Dunkerley and Company Ltd (GDCL) for construction of a 275-metre high chimney for the plant. So far, 45 bodies have been retrieved from the debris of the chimney scattered over a large area.

Several workers are still feared to be trapped in the rubble.

"Even the SEPCO office is locked. We need to stop them from fleeing Chhattisgarh, or even from India, as they need to be interrogated about the tragedy for a judicial probe," the police official said.