Six people were killed and 12 injured in a huge fire and reactor blast at a chemical factory in Andhra Pradesh's Eluru district.
The disaster occurred at Porus Laboratories plant in Akkireddygudem village of Musunuru mandal late Wednesday, officials said.
Five persons died on the spot while another succumbed at hospital. Four of the deceased hailed from Bihar.
The injured were shifted to Government General Hospital in Vijayawada, where the condition of five of them is stated to be critical.
Fire fighting personnel with the help of NDRF battled for nearly three hours to control the fire which broke out in unit-4 of the plant after a suspected gas leak.
More than 100 people were working in the plant at the time of the mishap and they ran out in panic after hearing the loud explosion.
The plant manufactures pharmaceutical intermediates. Some of the survivors alleged that the negligence by the company led to the tragedy.
District Collector Prasanna Venkatesh said an inquiry will be conducted and action will be taken against the company if it was found to be negligent. He said the factory will be closed till the inquiry is completed.
Locals staged a protest in front of the plant on Thursday, demanding that the plant be shifted from the village. They alleged that the plant is causing pollution in the area.
The protesters tried to barge into the factory demanding justice for the victims and action against the company for alleged negligence.
Governor Biswa Bhusan Harichandan and Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy expressed shock over the accident. They conveyed their condolences to the families of the deceased.
The chief minister announced Rs 25 lakh ex-gratia each to the families of the deceased. He also announced Rs 5 lakh assistance each for critically injured and Rs 2 lakh each for other injured.
The chief minister directed the district collector and superintendent of police to conduct a thorough probe into the incident. He asked officials to ensure best medical treatment to the injured.