New Delhi: At least 23 people have been killed and 27 others were injured after a blast rocked through a firecracker factory in Punjab’s Gurdaspur on Wednesday, stated news agency PTI. Rescue operations are underway.

As several workers were reported to be trapped inside the factory, over a dozen fire tenders were pressed into action to douse the flames. According to reports, firecrackers were being manufactured for an upcoming wedding ceremony.

In addition to the fire tenders, an NDRF team also reached the spot and is helping rescue workers from the factory.

The blast in the factory killed the owner and his family of six along with the workers. A number of nearby buildings, including a car workshop, were badly damaged in the explosion. An elderly woman and her grandchild, who were passing close to the disaster spot, were among the dead.

The cause of the blast, which damaged the buildings in radius up to 200 metres, is yet to be ascertained, police said. Even a few stranded vehicles were flung up in the air with the blast.

Punjab Chief Minister has now announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 2 lakhs for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the seven severely injured, who were referred to Amritsar Medical College. He has also announced Rs. 25,000 for those with minor injuries.

Gurdaspur BJP MP Sunny Deol was quick to tweet, “Saddened to hear about the news of blast in Batala factory.NDRF teams and local administration has been rushed for the rescue operation.”