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Jhabua: At least 82 people were killed and many others injured when explosives kept inside a building went off at Petlwad town in Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday.
Earlier, police had said that the explosion was caused by a cooking gas cylinder kept in the adjacent three-storeyed building housing a hotel.
Both the buildings were extensively damaged in the high-impact explosion compounding the tragedy.
According to Sub Divisional Officer of Police (SDOP), Petlawad, AR Khan, the explosion took place around 8.30 am at Petlawad town, at a store in the building where huge piles of explosive material used for mines were kept.
The exact number of casualties will be known once the rescue operations are over.
Senior officials from Jhabua including Superintendent of Police GG Pandey besides State Tribal Welfare Minister Antar Singh Arya have rushed to the spot.
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Jhabua, located over 300 km from state capital Bhopal, is a tribal belt and on fateful Saturday, a large number of labourers were milling around the place waiting for buses.
The dazed locals scrambled to help the wounded who cried out in pain. Some of the people died on the spot.
State Home Minister Babulal Gaur said a high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh each to kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for those injured.
Meanwhile, a team of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) has been dispatched to Jhabua to help in the salvage operations of the collapsed building.
“A team equipped with gadgets to operate in collapsed structures has been sent to the accident site in Jhabua from Vadodara in Gujarat.
(With Agency inputs)