Jhabua (Madhya Pradesh): More than 83 people were killed and over 50 injured on Saturday when an explosion at a busy tea stall was followed by a massive blast in an adjoining building in Madhya Pradesh's Jhabua district, police said.
The deafening blasts were so powerful that it reduced buildings to rubble and left many bloodied and wounded.
An eyewitness said that the ear-splitting blasts took place in quick succession, with the first taking place at the tea stall and the second bringing down the adjoining building.
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. As many as 20 of the 50 injured are in a serious condition.
TV visuals showed the enormity of the blasts, with nearby buildings suffering extensive damage. People could be seen sifting through the rubble to extricate those who were buried.
The first blast took place at around 8.30 a.m. in Petlavad area near the New Bus stand.
"An explosion took place in a tea stall on Saturday morning. After that, another explosion took place in a two-storey building. Eighty two people were killed," Jhabua Additional Superintendent of Police Sima Alva told IANS.
Alva added: "Many people were injured in the incident."
There were unconfirmed reports that gelatin sticks, used in mining, were stored in the building as illegal mining takes place in the area.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan ordered a probe.
Chouhan expressed grief but declined to comment on the cause for the blasts. He said that Chief Secretary Antony Desa has been asked to look into the matter.
The chief minister has also announced a compensation of Rs.2 lakh to the kin of the deceased and Rs.50,000 to the injured.
A team of experts from Indore reached Jhabua following the blasts.
State tribal welfare minister Antar Singh Arya reached the site to ensure the relief measures to be taken as soon as possible.
Senior Officials from Jhabua also rushed to the spot to launch rescue operations.
Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Babulal Gaur said: "The blast took place due to gas cylinder explosion."
On whether there were explosives in the building, Gaur said: "The matter needs to be probed and an order in this regard has been given."