The toll in the explosion at the NTPC plant in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli district rose to 29 on Thursday evening. Earlier in the day, the National Human Rights Commission issued a notice to the state government, asking for a detailed report on the blast.
The explosion was one of the country’s worst industrial accidents in years, injuring more than 100 workers. The human rights panel said a high-level investigation “is immediately required to ascertain negligence and errors, if any, behind the incident, which involves the Right to Life”. It has asked the state chief secretary to file a report within six weeks.
Earlier on Thursday, the Uttar Pradesh government also ordered a magisterial inquiry, Rae Bareli District Magistrate Sanjay Kumar Khatri told Reuters. “This two-member technical team will submit its findings within seven days,” he said.
Khatri said the explosion was caused by blockages in the flue gas pipe. “Hot flue gases and steam let out by the blast severely injured several workers,” he explained. The thermal power firm, too, said it will investigate the cause of the accident.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi met the injured and the families of the victims on Thursday morning. Rae Bareli is Congress President Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency.
On Wednesday, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the victims, Rs 50,000 for those critically injured and Rs 25,000 for the others injured. Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of the dead and announced Rs 50,000 for each of those injured.