Chandigarh: Four persons were killed and 17 others injured in a blast in a leading pharmaceutical company's manufacturing unit at Basauli village near Lalru town in Punjab, 35 kilometres from here.

 "The blast took place in the chemical reactor of the pharma unit which makes formulations for the antibiotics. Seventeen persons were injured in the incident," SSP, Mohali, G P S Bhullar said.

Two of those who died hailed from Uttar Pradesh, Lalru Police in-charge Gurbant Singh said, adding, the condition of three persons was serious.
   
Stating the blast took place in the morning shift, Gurbant said, a massive fire engulfed the factory premises when reactions were taking place in the reactors.

Preliminary investigations revealed that static charge resulted in the fire that led to the incident.
There was an explosion in one of the reactors, which caught fire and another adjoining reactor also exploded causing casualties and injuries.

A total of 34 people were said to be inside the unit at the time of the mishap, out of which 13 were safe.

Bhullar, who rushed to the site along with senior civil administration officials, said the injured were taken to various hospitals in the area.

Fire tenders rushed from Mohali and Derabassi to the site brought the flames under control after after three hours.
The deceased were identified as Nirankar Singh, shift-in-charge, Patra Khan and Sushil Kumar, both workers and office boy Bunty.

The incident took place at the bulk drug, antibiotic intermediate manufacturing plant of the company involved in making Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) for bulk drugs used in formulations, mostly antibiotics.

Gurbant said that police had registered a case under Section 304 (negligence) of the IPC against the owners and management of the pharma facility.

Meanwhile, the company will give Rs 5 lakh compensation to the next of kin of the deceased and employment to one of the family members. The company has also announced Rs 1 lakh compensation to the injured.

(Agencies)