Nine employees were killed and 14 others injured Tuesday in a blast at the Bhilai steel plant of state-owned SAIL in Chhattisgarh’s Durg district, police said.


The fire took place around 10.30am in a gas pipe line of Coke Oven Battery Complex No 11 during a scheduled maintenance job at the plant, the company said in a statement, adding that the fire had been controlled.


“So far, 9 persons have lost their lives and 14 are undergoing medical treatment. All resources have been mobilized to provide adequate care to the injured,” according to the statement.


According to preliminary information, over 24 employees were working at the spot when the accident occurred, said Inspector General of Police (Durg Range) G P Singh. Police personnel and a rescue team rushed to the spot, he said, adding, all the victims were being taken to a local hospital.


Rescue operation was still underway at the plant, operated by Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).


Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in June dedicated the modernised and expanded Bhilai Steel Plant to the nation.


According to SAIL’s website, the Bhilai steel plant, located around 30 km from the capital, is India’s sole producer and supplier of world class rails for the Indian Railways, including 260 metre long rails, and a major producer of a large variety of wide and heavy steel plates and structural steel.


With an annual production capacity of 3.153 million tonnes of saleable steel, the plant also specialises in other products such as wire rods and merchant products.