"Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chinna Rajappa blamed the negligence of GAIL authorities for the disaster."
Hyderabad, June 29 - The death toll in the disaster in a GAIL pipeline in Andhra Pradesh rose to 19 with two people succumbing to their injuries since Saturday night, officials said.

A 20-year-old youth Sunday breathed his last at a hospital in Kakinada. Another person succumbed to his injuries Saturday night.

The explosion and fire in the pipeline Friday morning killed 15 villagers in Nagaram village in the coastal district of East Godavari, about 550 km from here.

Officials said 19 injured were warded in hospitals in the district. The condition of six of them is stated to be critical.

Officials are taking measures to shift some of the injured to Hyderabad for better medicare.

The massive fire, due to apparent leakage of gas from the 18-inch pipeline, engulfed several houses and shops.

The explosion in the pipeline carrying gas to Lanco power station at Kondapalli near Vijayawada occurred near the ONGC Gas Collection Station at Tatipaka.

A high-level committee appointed by the petroleum ministry visited the village Saturday.

R.P. Singh, who is heading the panel, said the committee had not arrived at a conclusion regarding the reasons for the blast and fire.

Andhra Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chinna Rajappa blamed the negligence of GAIL authorities for the disaster.

The state and central governments and ONGC/GAIL have announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.25 lakh each to the kin of the deceased.


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