NTPC blast: Sonia expresses condolence, asks Cong workers to

At least 100 people have suffered injuries after an ash-pipe exploded at the National Thermal Power Corporation's plant in Raebareli

Rahul Gandhi is taking a short break from election campaigning in south Gujarat on Thursday morning and fly to Uttar Pradesh's Rae Bareli where a boiler blast at a power plant has killed 18 people and injured almost 100.

According to top officials, the number of dead persons, as well as injured persons, could rise. Most of the injured have suffered burns.

The boiler pipe burst in the 500 MW power generating unit.

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who is now on a three-day visit to Mauritius, has directed the state's officials to send all possible help to the victims.

Meena said that relief and rescue operations were launched immediately and the injured were being rushed to nearby hospitals.

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About 80 people have been taken to the hospital of plant operator NTPC Ltd, while around 10 with serious injuries have been sent to other facilities, NTPC said in a statement. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his sadness for the tragedy and said he handles the situation.

Officials said the explosion took place in the boiler which is filled with water in tubes which are heated.

Principal dsecretary (Home) Arvind Kumar said that a 32- member team of National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) was rushed to the site of accident which is 100 km from state capital Lucknow.

Previously, this plant was run by Uttar Pradesh state electricity board but was taken over by the NTPC a couple of years back.

UP chief minister Yogi Adityanath, who is in Mauritius for an investment summit, announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the families of the workers who died in the accident.

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