At least 20 labourers were killed, 15 injured and nearly 70 feared trapped under the debris when a chimney at the under-construction thermal power plant of BALCO caved in here on Wednesday.

Around 300 labourers were working when the chimney, being set up by CEFCO company, at the under—construction thermal power plant of Bharat Aluminium Company Limited collapsed, District Collector Ashok Agarwal said.

At least 20 were killed and 15 were injured in the accident, he said adding up to 70 were feared trapped under the debris.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh has ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident.

The 250-foot (75-meter) chimney came crashing down in the plant’s cafeteria, where the workers were having tea, said Vishwa Ranjan, the Director-General of police in Chhattisgarh.

Emergency teams recovered 20 bodies and were using heavy cranes and cutters to rescue survivors in the rubble, Mr. Ranjan said. “It will take time to clear the rubble as there were huge pieces of concrete,” he said.

Five injured people have been hospitalized, he said.

Mr. Ranjan said the power plant, owned by Bharat Aluminum Co., was being built by a Chinese company with the help of local contractors in Korba, nearly 600 miles (960 kilometers) southeast of New Delhi.

The cause of the accident was not immediately known.

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