At least ten workers were killed in a blast in a quarry in Andhra Pradesh's Kurnool district on Friday. Eight other workers were also injured in the blast, that took place in Hathi Belgal village in Alur 'mandal' (block) of Kurnool district.
The injured were admitted to the government hospital in Alur. The condition of three is stated to be critical. The death toll is expected to go up.
About 20 workers, migrants from Odisha, were believed to be in a shed when the blast occurred. The police suspected that some more workers could be trapped inside.
A fire which broke out with the blast engulfed the shed. Three tractors, one lorry and two sheds were destroyed in the fire.
The huge blast also damaged a few houses near the quarry.
The blast, which was heard at a distance of more than 10 kms, set panic among the residents. The cause of the blast could not be known immediately.
“A case has been registered under Section 304 (ii) (Punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of the IPC and Sections 3 and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act. We are verifying about the incident. The accused responsible for the incident will arrested soon,” Kurnool SP Gopinath Jetty told reporters.
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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu expressed grief over the incident and ordered the District Collector to assist those who were injured.
In a statement, actor-politician and Jana Sena President Pawan Kalyan also expressed deep shock over the deaths and said that he had deep sympathy for the families of the deceased.
He also said that the state government must pay better compensation and provide free medical care for the victims.
According to media reports, the quarry was being operated illegally and locals from nearby villages had been asking officials to take action against the blasting of stones and movement of heavy vehicles in the region.
“We have complained many times in the past but nobody paid a heed to our woes. We had even submitted representations to the police and local MRO,” one local told reporters.