At least 11 workers were killed in a powerful explosion that took place on Friday night at a stone quarry of Hathi Belgal in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, police said. Five more people, who were labourers working at the site, got injured and were rushed to the Aluru Government Hospital for treatment. However, one among them succumbed to injuries.
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the families of the bereaved. He ordered Deputy Chief Minister KE Krishnamurthy and Mining Minister ao and monitor the operations at the spot. Earlier he had expressed shock over the incident and extended condolences to the families. He spoke to the district authorities and directed them to ensure proper treatment of the injured. Naidu also ordered the district collector to intensify the operations.
According to SP, Kurnool, other four are declared out of danger and still undergoing treatment. Reportedly, the fire that broke out in the quarry, spread to the nearby area and burnt three tractors, one lorry and two sheds to ashes.
All the victims are said to be hailing from Odisha and came here for work. The explosion occurred when regular quarrying work was being carried out in the quarry in Hathi Belgal under Aluru mandal, an investigating officer said over the phone.
“At least 20 workers were said to be at the spot when the gelatine sticks used for blasting the quarry exploded. The sudden explosion trapped the workers, triggering the fatalities,” the officer said.
Search is on to trace if there are any survivors, he added.
Firefighters were rushed to the spot. “A case has been registered U/s 304 part-2 IPC, section 3 & 5 of Explosive substances act. We are verifying the incident. The accused responsible for the incident will be arrested soon,” said the SP.
The leader of Opposition Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and JanaSena Party chief Pawan Kalyan also expressed grief and extended sympathies to the bereaved families.