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Central & South Asia
Deaths as India chimney collapses
Rescue workers search for survivors trapped under debris at thermal power plant.
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2009 17:43 GMT
More than 100 labourers were working on the construction site when the chimney fell [AFP]

At least 20 people have been killed and scores more are believed trapped after a chimney collapsed at a thermal power plant under construction in central India, police have said.

About 70 workers are feared trapped under the rubble at the plant being built by the Bharat Aluminum company (Balco) at Korba in Chhattisgarh state, police said on Wednesday.

More than 100 labourers were working on the construction site when the chimney fell, R.K. Vij, a Chhattisgarh state police spokesman, told the AFP news agency.

"There is chaos at the plant. Labourers are helping the rescue team to pull people out of the debris," Vij said.

Rescue operation

Family members waited anxiously for news of relatives as rescue workers searched for survivors.

"Seven injured people have been brought to hospital," said B.K. Srivastava, Balco's general manager.

"A chimney of 275 metres was being constructed, 100 metres were already completed. There was heavy rain and lightning when the incident occurred," Srivastava said.

Raman Singh, Chhattisgarh's chief minister, said a judical probe had been ordered into the accident.

Balco is a 51 percent-owned unit of London stock exchange-listed Vedanta Plc, whose activities are mainly focused on India.

The Indian government holds the remaining 49 per cent.

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