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Jhabua blast: Absconding shop owner Rajendra Kaswa had no licence to store or sell explosives

At least 88 people died in the explosion in Jhabua in Madhya Pradesh

Written by Milind Ghatwai | Petlawad | Updated: September 16, 2015 10:56 am
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Rajendra Kaswa, for whom police launched a manhunt three days ago, had no licence to store or sell the explosives that took at least 89 lives in Jhabua district’s Petlawad on Saturday.

All the 52-year-old had was a ‘Shot Firer’s Certificate’ that allows the holder to undertake blasting work in connection with well sinking, road construction and agricultural work, among other things.

The holder of this certificate is not authorised to store even one gram of explosives, let alone the large quantities of explosives that Kaswa illegally stored in his small shop along with fertilisers. The certificate was revalidated on March 16 for five years.

The certificate holder is attached to a licensed magazine, from where the explosives are sourced and used the same day for the purpose specified. Both the certificate and the magazine license are issued by the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, a short-staffed central government body that functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Bhopal-based Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives M K Jhala told The Indian Express that Kaswa possessed the shot firer’s certificate and was not authorised to store explosives. He said he was not aware if the other two Kaswa brothers, Narendra and Foolchand, hold such certificates.

There are 2,000 such certificate holders in Madhya Pradesh alone. Only two of the 500 magazine licences in the state are located in Petlawad and neither belongs to the Kaswas, who have been in this business for decades.
Unlike the magazine license, for which strict rules exist on paper, getting the certificate is easy. All it requires is an NOC from the local police station, identity proof and a physical fitness certificate. “It does not require any special qualification. My certificate was revalidated after paying the Rs 800 fee,” Jamnalal Patidar, one such certificate holder who lives in a nearby village, said.

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  1. H
    Sep 17, 2015 at 9:43 am
    PESO has offices situated mostly at the state capital in order to monitor all its work efficiently. We have many regulations in the country in order to curb unsocial acivities. Even Rs 500, Rs1000, or even Rs 1 can be duplicated prepared. Or RTO issues a Licence to persons but road accident could occur or even CNG kit could be duplicately prepared. So, we cannot blaim PESO because Local body including SP is intimated about movement of explosives from manufacturing premises.
    1. J
      Sep 15, 2015 at 2:31 pm
      Another rss/bjp member killied 88 innocent, poor laborers by storing explosives illegally in his godown in Madhya Pradesh after Vyappam suspected muders.
      1. A
        An Idian
        Sep 15, 2015 at 3:23 pm
        so now the question is why he was holding these explosive.?
        1. S
          S.Nagaraja Rao
          Sep 16, 2015 at 6:21 pm
          It has become common to make some noise when such incidents take place & forget later on. The state govts., too wash off its hands by announcing some ex-gratia to the victims/families. Later the ordered enquiry does not see any light. Since Independence, such incidents have happened throughout the country. But so far no concrete measures have been taken to plug this unlicensed of explosives or its material. No serious thinking has been made in this direction. The PESO located at Nagpur, has no state level offices in the country except for some zonal offices here & there. Except for getting routine monthly returns from the state govts, so far there is no action or suggestions from the PESO or its controlling ministry.Even these explosives reach the hands of ultras from so called contractors. But no action. if any official comes on inspection of license dholder the shop keeper pays him some money & completes formalities & give clean chit to them. Even higher official comes for inspection, the shop keeper is tipped information reg. officer's visit. Finally it goes well without any hitch. At some places the local police & revenue officials are regular pay rolls. Take money & not to raid their shops. That is how they manage. When suddenly if explosion takes place like now, the officials throw the burden on shop keeper & skip away from their responsibilities. So it is necessary to have state unit of PESO in every state with sufficient staff posted with explosive experts from Police, army & some scientists. It should be teethed to take severe action and prosecute them when they cross Lakshman Rekha. Otherwise, this will go on as usual.