An explosion at an Indian coal-fired power plant has on Wednesday killed at least 26 people. The explosion also left more than 100 injured. The plant is located in Raebareli district of northern Uttar Pradesh state and is run by the government-owned National Thermal Power Corporation
Indian authorities have ordered an inquiry to determine within seven days the cause of the blast on Wednesday (local time).
Anand Kumar, a director-general of police in the state capital Lucknow, said preliminary findings suggested that ash had collected in the furnace below the boiler, causing the explosion.
“Ash had accumulated for some reason which should not have happened. And due to that, pressure built up inside and led to the blast,” he said in a video statement uploaded on YouTube.
A magisterial inquiry had been initiated and the two-member technical team will submit findings within seven days, said Sanjay Kumar Khatri, the top government official of Rae Bareli district, where the plant is located.
Mr Khatri said the state government had offered cash compensation of 200,000 rupees ($4,015) to the families of the deceased, 50,000 rupees for the severely injured and half of that to those who sustained minor injuries.
There was a “sudden abnormal sound” at Unit 6 of the NTPC plant in the town of Unchahar and flue gases and steam escaped during the incident, NTPC said.
The 1,550 megawatt (MW) plant supplies electricity to nine states including Uttar Pradesh and employs 870 people, according to the company’s website.
Three units with a combined capacity of 630 MW are continuing to generate electricity, while the 500 MW unit that was hit by the explosion has been shut down.
Other units are either under scheduled maintenance or are not operating currently due to lack of demand, NTPC said.