One killed, six injured in blast at explosives factory in Chhattisgarh; probe ordered

Bemetara, May 25 (PTI) One person was killed and at least six were injured in a blast at an explosives manufacturing factory, where rescuers also found body parts, in Chhattisgarh’s Bemetara district on Saturday, prompting the government to order a probe, officials said.

The explosion at Special Blasts Limited Pirda near Pirda village in Berla development block left a nearly 40-foot-deep crater, an official said.

Soon after being alerted, police and rescue teams were rushed to the site, he said.

While six persons injured in the blast were taken to Dr BR Ambedkar Memorial Hospital in Raipur, one person was brought dead, Public Relations Officer of the hospital Shubhra Singh told PTI.

According to officials, two of the injured were later shifted to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Raipur.

State’s Deputy Chief Minister Arun Sao, who visited the blast site, said a magisterial enquiry has been ordered into the incident and action will be taken against those found guilty.

Sao said teams from SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) and district administration have launched a rescue operation.

“The SDRF team is engaged in clearing debris. Once the debris is removed, the situation will be clear. Chief Minister Vishnu Deo Sai is in constant touch with us and officials,” Sao told reporters.

“Unfortunately, one person was killed in the incident. The injured have been admitted to Dr BR Ambedkar Memorial Hospital and AIIMS Raipur, he said.

The kin of the deceased will receive financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh, while Rs 50,000 each will be given to the injured who will also be provided treatment by the government, he said.

Besides, the government will ensure that the factory pays compensation to the victims, he said.

Ishwar Khare, in-charge of a 13-member SDRF team from neighbouring Durg district, said they were engaged in the rescue operation at the blast site.

“As per information, a two-storey building collapsed in the blast at the explosives manufacturing factory. Some people might have been trapped under the debris and a search is underway,” he said.

The blast has left a 30-40 feet deep crater. Some body parts were found in the debris. After the entire debris is removed, details will be known, he said.

Rajkumar Yadav, a resident of Borsi village adjacent to the factory, said his 20-year-old son, who works in the unit, was missing after the blast.

“I heard a loud noise when I was at my home. I climbed on the roof and saw smoke billowing out from the unit. When I could not contact my son, I phoned others from the village who work there. They told me a blast had happened and several people were trapped. My son is still missing,” he said.

Some eyewitnesses told local news channels that at least 100 people were working in the explosives manufacturing factory when the blast happened. They claimed several people were missing and feared trapped under the debris.

Shopkeepers in the area said the impact of the blast was felt in a radius of about 4 kilometres.

The incident comes days after a blast in a chemical factory in Maharashtra’s Thane district killed nine persons and injured over 60.

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