"Union minister for urban development M. Venkaiah Naidu apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the incident. He also spoke to officials of the petroleum ministry."
Hyderabad, June 27 - Thirteen people are feared burnt to death in a huge explosion and fire that took place at a GAIL gas pipeline in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh early Friday morning, officials said.
The accident took place in Nagaram village in Mamidikuduru mandal of the coastal district, police said.
According to eyewitnesses, 13 people caught in the blaze were burnt alive. Fifteen others were injured and were taken to hospital. Police have confirmed three deaths.
The blast rocked the 18-inch pipeline of state-owned Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) near a refinery of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), about 550 km from Hyderabad.
GAIL officials said the cause of the fire would be known only after a thorough probe.
They said Rescue and relief operations were underway at the blast site.
The huge flames leaping out of the pipeline damaged houses and shops near the blast site. The villagers ran out of their houses in panic as the fire accompanied by loud blasts engulfed a large area.
Local police officials said fire tenders brought the blaze control.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who is currently on a visit to Delhi, expressed grief at the loss of lives in the GAIL pipeline explosion. He reviewed the situation with district collector and senior officials from Delhi, said an official statement.
Naidu directed Deputy Chief Minister N. Chinna Rajappa to rush to the blast site to monitor rescue and relief operations.
Rajappa, who is also the home minister, asked district officials to take all measures to provide relief to the injured.
Union minister for urban development M. Venkaiah Naidu apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the incident. He also spoke to officials of the petroleum ministry.
YSR Congress party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy expressed shock and grief over the accident. He demanded best medicare to the injured and a probe into the incident.