LUCKNOW: Over a dozen people were feared dead and scores injured in an explosion inside a carpet factory in Bhadohi district of eastern Uttar Pradesh on Saturday afternoon. The explosion reportedly took place in the godown of the factory, which was being used as a firecracker manufacturing unit.
Such was the intensity of the blast that the entire building was reduced to rubble, and three adjoining houses also collapsed under its impact in Rohta village under Chauri police station area, 30 km
from the district headquarters of Bhadohi.
“The building was a carpet factory. We have information that fire-crackers were being made here illegally. An investigation is underway,” said a senior police official.
The owner of the house Akhtar Ali, his three relatives as well as several labourers from West Bengal were among those who died in the blast. At least 13 bodies were extricated from the debris till Saturday evening. Many more are suspected to be trapped under it.
As per local sources, the carpet factory had been converted into a crackers manufacturing unit some time back. A number of villagers and also those from outside Bhadohi or even UP used to work at the unit as regular labourers. At the time of the blast, a number of labourers were present in the factory. The magnitude of the blast could be gauged by the human remains strewed across the area.
Earthmoving equipment has been pressed into service to carry out relief and rescue works. Forensic experts and a team of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were on the site carrying out relief and rescue work.
Expressing grief over the loss of lives, UP CM Yogi Adityanath directed district authorities to ensure prompt treatment for the injured.
Bhadohi DM SK Singh and Additional Director General of Police, Varanasi zone, PV Ramsastry rushed to the spot. Local villagers had already started rescue work as a number of people were feared trapped under the rubble of the collapsed building. "The rescue operation is still underway. Bomb disposal squad is also at the location besides police officials," Inspector General Piyush Shrivastav said.
Moreover, security agencies along with a heavy contingent of police force reached the spot and cordoned off the area. A team of forensic experts were also present on the blast site.
The injured were rushed to the district hospital. Majority of them had sustained head injuries and were critical, said the CMO.