Free Press Journal

NTPC explosion: Rahul Gandhi visits accident site in Rae Bareli, Congress seeks judicial probe


Rahul Gandhi meeting the family members of the victims of Unchahar NTPC boiler blast, outside the post-mortem house of district hospital in Raebareli. PTI Photo

Rae Bareli: Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi today met the workers injured in the boiler explosion at the NTPC plant here as his party demanded that a judicial inquiry be ordered into the incident that left 26 persons dead. Taking a break from his Gujarat election tour, the Congress vice president visited the Gandhi family pocket-borough Rae Bareli to meet those injured in the explosion and said his party will demand a probe into the incident.

The office of Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Labourers have said that the accident took place due to negligence and that there should be a judicial probe into the accident.”

“I was sad to see the pain of victims of the NTPC incident. Their families should get better compensation and government jobs, while the injured should get all possible help,” he said.

The Congress vice president was accompanied by senior party leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress state president Raj Babbar.

“How many workers were working there?” he was heard asking officers at the Unchahar unit of NTPC.

“People are saying that it (the plant unit) was run early (before schedule). It should not have been run that way. We will demand a probe,” he told reporters.

The Congress vice president also came face to face with Union Power minister R K Singh during his visit to the site. The toll in the massive explosion in the boiler at the state-run power giant NTPC’s Unchahar plant today rose to 26 with six more persons succumbing to injuries. Azad demanded that a judicial inquiry be constituted.

“Those who are injured have received severe burn injuries. They are more than 100 in number and they must be adequately compensated. This incident must be probed. A judicial inquiry must be constituted,” Azad said.

He charged that in the event of a government inquiry, facts could be concealed.

“Local residents are complaining that the project was being commissioned in haste. We can see that construction is yet to be completed. Whether this (plant unit) should have been commissioned or not, whether it should had been brought on trial and during trial no labourers should had been present on the site…all these points will be clear in the judicial inquiry,” he said.

Azad also said, “There have been lacunae…Be it in the context of coal or in hasty completion of the work. The unit was to be commissioned after six months…Local people have pointed out various shortcomings. There has been big negligence, for which the guilty should be punished.”

He said the matter should not be politicised.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Energy Minister Shrikant Sharma tweeted, “The Centre has constituted a committee to probe the accident. The committee headed by executive director of NTPC will submit its report in 30 days.”