JHABUA: At least 82 people were killed and 35 others injured when explosives kept inside a building went off at Petlwad town in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh today, police said.
Update: 82 people killed in Jhabua explosion, says Chief Medical Officer Dr. Arun Sharma
Earlier, police had said that the explosion was caused by a cooking gas cylinder kept in the adjacent three-storeyed building housing a hotel. Both the buildings were extensively damaged in the high-impact explosion compounding the tragedy. According to Sub Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP), Petlawad, A R Khan, the explosion took place around 8.30 AM at Petlawad town, at a store in the building where huge piles of explosive material used for mines were kept.
So far, bodies of 82 people have been recovered from the debris of both the buildings, Jhabua District Magistrate Aruna Gupta told PTI. Also, 35 people have been pulled out of the debris and referred to a nearby hospital, Gupta said. Many others are suspected to be trapped in the debris, she said, adding that the exact number of casualties will be known once the rescue operations are over.
Senior officials from Jhabua including Superintendent of Police G G Pandey besides State Tribal Welfare Minister Antar Singh Arya have rushed to the spot. State Home Minister Babulal Gaur said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured. Meanwhile, a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been dispatched to Jhabua to help in the salvage operations of the collapsed building.
"A team equipped with gadgets to operate in collapsed structures has been sent to the accident site in Jhabua from Vadodara in Gujarat.The team will assist local administration in retrieval operations," NDRF Director General O P Singh told PTI in Delhi.