"Ash had piled up in the furnace beneath the boiler, which then led to building up of pressure resulting in the explosion", Anand Kumar, a top state police official said in a youtube video posted on Twitter. Meena added that relief and rescue operations were launched immediately and the injured were being rushed to nearby hospitals.
Sources in the hospital at Raebareli and Lucknow, where the injured were rushed, said that many labourers are in a critical condition.
"Congress president Sonia Gandhi expressed shock and horror at the awful tragedy in Raebareli", a statement by the party said.
The explosion triggered panic among workers who ran helter-skelter.
A rescue worker at NTPC power plant.
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Rescue operations underway in close coordination with the District Administration.Over 1000 people work in this unit of NTPC.
Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced a compensation of Rs 2 Lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for workers suffering serious injuries and Rs 25,000 for other injured workers.
"Due to the unfortunate NTPC accident, I will visit Rae Bareli tomorrow morning". After the tragedy, a 32-member team of the National Disaster Response Force was sent to the site, said Arvind Kumar, principal secretary of Uttar Pradesh's government.
The explosion occured late afternoon in one of the boilers at the plant in Unchahar - about 110 kms away from UP state capital of Lucknow.
The Congress vice-president also expressed his condolences over the deaths and tweeted, "I am deeply saddened with the incident at the Rae Bareli's NTPC plant".