House explosion in MP kills 82, several injured

Jhabua, MP, Sep 12 - At least 82 people were today killed while several others sustained burn injuries in a massive explosion that ripped through a residential-cum-commercial premises and engulfed a nearby restaurant near the busy Bus Stand area at Petlavad in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district, police said.

Collector Aruna Gupta confirmed that 82 people were killed in the blast that occurred around 0800 hrs in the morning.

The mishap took place when detonators, gelatin sticks and other explosive material stored by a commercial firm in the premises went off.

Several people were having morning tea and breakfast at the restaurant when the incident took place. A few nearby houses were also destroyed in the ensuing blaze. Some people were also trapped under debris.

According to preliminary information, the house is owned by one Rathore family, which had given one portion to a firm on rent for conducting its business operations. The firm concerned had stored detonators and other explosive material -- believed to be meant for use for mining purposes. Nearby residents and police plunged into relief and rescue operations. Senior officials reached the spot.

The injured were rushed to hospitals in Petlavad, Jhabua, nearby districts Ratlam and Indore and neighbouring state Gujarat’s Dahod district.

Expressing grief over the incident, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to the deceased’s kin and financial assistance of Rs 50,000 each to the injured.

He directed the district administration to focus on relief and rescue operations and ensure better treatment to the injured.

Home Minister Babulal Gaur said an investigation has been ordered into the matter and strict action would be taken against the guilty. Inspector General of Police (Intelligence) Makrand Deuskar told UNI that it appeared that a large quantity of gelatin sticks and explosive material had been stored illegally causing the blast. However, the exact reason could be known only after forensic and chemical analysis.

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