"She also expressed the hope that immediate steps will be taken so that such accidents are prevented in the future, the Congress statement said."
New Delhi, June 27 - President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday expressed their grief over the death of 14 people in a gas pipeline blast in a Andhra Pradesh district early Friday.

Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed her sorrow over the accident and casualties.

The president, in a letter to Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, said he is extremely saddened to learn about the accident.

I am sure the state government and other agencies are taking necessary steps to provide urgent medical assistance to the injured and all possible aid to the bereaved families, who have lost their near and dear ones, Mukherjee said.

Please convey my heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased. I wish speedy recovery to the injured persons, he added.

The blast burst and caused fire to an 18-inch gas pipeline of the state-owned GAIL India near a refinery of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in East Godavari district.

The blast took place in Nagaram village in Mamidikuduru mandal of the coastal district, about 550 km from Hyderabad.

The prime minister has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.2 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed. This is in addition to the relief assistance given by the petroleum ministry and GAIL India.

My thoughts with the families of those who lost their lives in the GAIL Pipeline fire in Andhra Pradesh. Prayers with the injured, a message from the prime minister said.

An ex-gratia payment of Rs.50,000 has also been announced for those seriously injured in the accident.

An official statement said Modi has spoken to the petroleum minister, the cabinet secretary and the GAIL chairman and has asked them to ensure immediate relief at the accident site.

Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi urged the authorities to take steps to prevent such accidents in future.

A statement from the Congress said the party president extended her condolences to the families of those killed and urged the authorities concerned to provide medical relief to the injured.

She also expressed the hope that immediate steps will be taken so that such accidents are prevented in the future, the Congress statement said.

The government Friday ordered a high-level inquiry into the gas pipeline fire.


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