At least three people were killed and 16 seriously injured in an explosion at the Harduagunj Thermal Power Station at Kasimpur near Aligarh, 100 kilometres south east of New Delhi. Local sources quoted Balkar Singh, Aligarh district magistrate, who said the initial death toll was three, but that this might increase.
Singh said forensic and medical evidence, including DNA tests, would be required to confirm whether the body parts left behind at the site after the blast belonged to one body or many.
The magistrate said the blast seemed to have been caused by an LPG cylinder exploding, possibly after a leak was ignited by welding work being carried out in the plant. He said an inquiry would confirm the exact cause.
The plant, which is owned and operated by UP Rajya Vidyut Utpadan Nigam, had been closed since March for refurbishment by Bharat Heavy Electric Limited (BHEL), and had been expected to start operations again.
UPRVUNL Managing director Sanjay Prasad said two of the injured were in a critical condition. He said compensation of Rs 1 million (14,000 euros) would be awarded to the families of those killed in the blast, and the injured would get treated in hospital free of charge and would receive compensation of Rs 50,000.
According to the Times of India, Prasad said that initial investigations showed no lapse had been found and that the blast was “merely an accident.” But he said that a team of technical experts had nevertheless been asked to make recommendations on safety measures to be adopted during maintenance operations.
Express News Service said protests broke out after district administrators arrived at the site, with workers alleging that existing safety regulations were not followed at the plant.