At least 20 people were killed and many others feared trapped under rubbles when an explosion ripped through a firecracker manufacturing factory on Wednesday in Gurdaspur district of Punjab, police said.
The incident took place at around 4:00pm (Indian time) at the factory located in a residential area in the district, Inspector General (Border Range) SPS Parmar told the media.
The blast led to the collapse of the building and a rescue operation was on to evacuate those feared trapped in the debris, reports our New Delhi correspondent.
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh expressed his anguish at the tragedy.
“Deeply anguished to learn of the loss of lives due to the blast in the firecracker factory in Batala. Rescue operations are underway with the DC & SSP heading the relief efforts,” he tweeted.