<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The toll in Wednesday’s blast in a boiler at the state-owned power firm NTPC’s plant climbed to 30, while many others were battling for life in various hospitals.About 100 workers are undergoing treatment after being scalded at the Unchahar plant in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareli.Union Minister of State (independent charge) for Power, RK Singh, denied allegations from politicians and families of the deceased that human negligence was to blame for the tragedy. He announced Rs 20 lakh for the families of those killed, Rs 10 lakh for critically injured and Rs 5 lakh for those with minor injuries, suffered in one of India’s worst industrial accidents in years. Twenty people had been reported dead on Wednesday.Accompanied by UP Energy Minister Srikant Sharma, Singh announced a high-level probe panel, headed by NTPC Director Technical.The committee will submit its report within 30 days. The state government has also started a magisterial probe. A two-member technical team will submit findings within seven days, also on precautionary measures for future.NTPC Chairman Gurdeep Singh and other officials were at the plant to brief the Union Minister. NTPC has initiated its own inquiry. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also approved ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each for the next of kin of those who died in the blast, and Rs 50,000 each for the injured.Congress leader Rahul Gandhi took a break from his Gujarat campaign and reached the 1,550-megawatt coal-fired plant in Rae Bareli, his month Sonia Gandhi’s parliamentary constituency. He sought a judicial inquiry into the tragedy and said the victims should be better compensated. He also met Singh. Rahul went to the Rae Bareli district hospital to meet the injured and said he was sad to see their pain.Officials said blockages in the flue gas pipe in the 500-MW boiler in Unit 6 led to the blast that let out hot flue gases and steam, scalding workers. Ash had collected in the furnace beneath the boiler, which increased pressure, they said.The plant supplies electricity to nine states. NTPC said other facilities would make up for the shortfall and outages were unlikely. The other five units of the station are functioning.A 32-member team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is already at the site for relief and rescue operations.Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, on a three-day tour to Mauritius, has asked officials to ensure effective relief and rescue operations, besides best medical facilities to the injured.The state government has announced Rs 2 lakh for the families of the dead, Rs 50,000 for those seriously burnt and Rs 25,000 for the injured.Meanwhile, the Opposition Samajwadi Party demanded a probe by a retired High Court judge into the blast. “The news of the accident is deeply saddening. We demand that this serious incident must be probed by a retired High Court judge,” senior SP leader Ahmed Hasan said. The families of the deceased should be given a Rs 50 lakh as compensation, while those injured should get Rs 10 lakh, he said.

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Uttar Pradesh NTPC blast: Toll mounts to 30, several others battling for life; govt orders high-level inquiry