Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi meets with the family members of victims of Unchahar NTPC boiler blast in Rae Bareli on Thursday.(PTI)
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi meets with the family members of victims of Unchahar NTPC boiler blast in Rae Bareli on Thursday.(PTI)

NTPC explosion: Compensation for dead hiked to Rs 20L; probes ordered after 29 killed

The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the UP government and sought a detailed report within six weeks.
By Kenneth John and Umesh Raghuvanshi | Rae Bareli/ Lucknow, Hindustan Times
UPDATED ON NOV 03, 2017 12:57 PM IST

The next of kin of those killed in a boiler explosion at NTPC’s Unchahar plant in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli district on Wednesday will get a compensation amount of Rs 20 lakh, Union power minister RK Singh said on Thursday.

The state administration has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident, while the Centre has also constituted a probe team headed by the NTPC executive director, amid demands for a judicial probe.

A day after a massive explosion ripped a boiler pipe at NTPC’s Unchahar plant, chief secretary Rajive Kumar confirmed 30 deaths.

“I am of the view that the ex-gratia which was earlier announced was not enough. Rs 20 lakh compensation will be given to the next of kin of those who died in the accident, while the seriously injured will get Rs 10 lakh and those who sustained minor injuries will be given Rs 2 lakh,” power minister Singh told reporters in Unchahar.

This amount is in addition to the compensation provided under the workmen compensation rules, he said.

“The Centre has constituted a committee to probe the incident. The NTPC executive director will head the probe committee and submit report within 30 days,” minister for energy Shrikant Sharma, who visited the site along with Singh.

In addition, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of the deceased, the PMO said on Twitter..

Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath has also announced Rs 2 lakh compensation for the families of those killed and 50,000 for the grievously injured besides Rs 25,000 for the other injured workers.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to the UP government and sought a detailed report within six weeks.

The commission observed that a high level probe was required to ascertain negligence and errors, if any, behind the incident so that such tragedies did not recur in future.

The state government was directed to take utmost care to see that the families of the deceased were suitably compensated without any delay and that best treatment was provided to the injured persons.

Deputy chief minister Dinesh Sharma, who visited the accident site, termed the incident gory and saddening.

“Our priority at this point in time is that proper treatment should be ensured to the injured persons. We stand by the families of those dead in their hour of grief,” he said.

Several political leaders visited the site, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who cut short his election campaigning in Gujarat.

“A judicial inquiry should be conducted into the incident. This is the demand of labourers. Forensic experts should also visit the site to collect samples and guilty should be punished,” Gandhi said after meeting kin of those killed.

Rae Bareli is the Lok Sabha constituency of Gandhi’s mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who is reportedly unwell and cannot make it here. He visited two private hospitals and the mortuary, apart from the accident site.

Two NTPC executives were on Thursday airlifted to Delhi for treatment. About 50 workers with more than 70% burns have already been shifted to different hospitals in Lucknow.

Workers protest

Colleagues of the mishap victims continued to stage a protest at the NTPC gate, even though district magistrate Sanjay Khatri tried to pacify the largely contract labourers.

A contract labour, Sohan Lal, realled the incident: ”I had a spade in my hand and was working near the blast site. Suddenly a very loud sound shook the plant, which soon got covered with a cloud of fumes. All I remember is bodies and body parts scattered all around.”

Another workers claimed, “There was no proper channel for exit of ash and authorities forced completion of work in two years instead of four years to get promotion.”

(With agency inputs)

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