At least six people were killed and 10 others injured when an explosion took place near an ordnance depot in Maharashtra's Wardha district on Tuesday while ammunition was being unloaded by labourers for disposal, officials said.
The blast took place between 7.10 am and 7.15 am at the explosive demolition ground near the Central Ammunition Depot (CAD) at Pulgaon town, a Defence official said.
The Maharashtra government declared compensation for the kin of those killed and for the injured with state Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar stating that a committee would inquire into the incident and submit a report within one month.
Around 10 to 15 contract labourers were at the site when the explosion occurred, Wardha Additional Superintendent of Police Nikhil Pingle said.
"The blast took place in one of the ammunition boxes while unloading the ammunition. The incident took place in an open land," he said.
While four people were killed on the spot, two others succumbed in hospital, Inspector General of Police (Nagpur Range) K M M Prasanna told PTI.
The ground near the CAD was given to the Ordnance Factory, Khamaria (in Madhya Pradesh) for demolition activities, the Defence official said.
"The demolition was being carried out by staff of the Ordnance Factory, Khamaria, with the help of an authorised contractor. Contractual services are used for digging pit and placing sand bag over the explosive," he said.
The deceased included a staff member of the Khamaria-based ordnance factory and labourers.
The 10 injured were admitted to a hospital in the nearby Savangi village, Prasanna said.
One of them was in a critical condition while three others received serious injuries, he said, six others were out of danger.
Officials from the ordnance factories at Chandrapur in Maharashtra and Khamaria rushed to the spot to ascertain the cause of the accident, the Defence official said.
Mungantiwar, who is also the guardian minister of Wardha, on Tuesday said Rs 5 lakh will be given to the families of the deceased, Rs 2 lakh to those who were seriously injured and Rs 50,000 to those who suffered minor injuries in the incident.
He said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had visited the spot and following discussions with him the decision on compensation was taken.
"It has also been directed to constitute a committee and conduct a high-level inquiry of the incident. It should submit its report within a period of one month," Mungantiwar said.
He said the government had also ordered a study of the existing security arrangements at all ordinance factories in the state.
Mungantiwar said he had discussed the incident with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and requested her to provide Centre's assistance as well.
In 2016, 16 people were killed in a blast at the ammunition depot at Pulgaon.