The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mystery blasts rock Rajkot

Ahmedabad, Dec. 29: Mysterious blasts in Rajkot city in the past several months have stirred panic among its residents.

“Nobody is able to explain this phenomenon, which has never been experienced anywhere in the state,” says P.K. Mishra, chairman and managing director, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority.

Puzzled by these peculiar explosions, which damaged a number of houses, the authority has sought the help of the Indian Meteorological Department, Delhi, and consulted geologists. The experts will study the cause of these blasts.

A team of seismologists, headed by seismology division director A.K. Shukla, has already reached Rajkot. Armed with 10 equipment boxes, these experts will observe the phenomena for about a week.

“No one is able to explain why these loud explosions are taking place for the last several months,” Mishra said. While the frequency of the explosions has increased, he claimed the experts had assured him “there is nothing to worry”.

Mishra said some of the experts told him that the explosions could be due to air pressure. “But nothing can be said conclusively at the moment.”

The final report on the causes of the blasts is awaited. Forensic experts who visited the site, where five kuchcha houses collapsed, ruled out use of explosives.

Mishra, however, said it was not yet confirmed whether the houses had collapsed due to the impact of the explosion or some other reasons.

Mishra, who is also principal secretary to chief minister Narendra Modi, admitted that Rakjot residents were scared of these blasts and hoped the experts would unravel its causes.

He claimed there was nothing to worry about, as the state government had alerted its machinery. The Rajkot collector was keeping a close watch on the situation and experts were on the job.

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