Two days after 23 people died in a blast here, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Friday ordered a state-wide crackdown on all illegal firecracker manufacturing units operating from residential and congested areas.
On a visit to Batala to meet the families of the victims and those injured in the blast, Amarinder directed the chief secretary and the Director General of Police to take immediate steps for closure of such illegal units.
Earlier, families of the victims blamed the Gurdaspur district administration for failing to shut down the “illegal” unit despite repeated pleas.
After visiting the blast site and meeting some of the victims in hospital, the chief minister said, “I can assure you that I will set up a committee headed by the chief secretary and the director general of police to carry out inspections across Punjab to find such factories and we will shut them down. We will not allow these to carry on.”
Asserting that firecracker factories should not be allowed in crowded places, Singh said a magisterial inquiry has already been ordered in the blast and its report will come out soon.
“I want to know through this inquiry how this (blast) happened,” said the CM, who was accompanied cabinet ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Sukhjinder Randhawa and Aruna Chaudhary and state Congress chief Sunil Jakhar.
About raising the ex gratia amount for the victims, the chief minister said he cannot change the standard procedure for fixing compensation.
The state has already announced an ex gratia of Rs 2 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased and free and best possible treatment to the injured, he said, adding the state government will release compensation for damaged properties immediately after receiving a report from the deputy commissioner.