February 15, 2021 2:39:40 pm
The death toll in the fireworks factory accident at Achankulam village near Virudhunagar district reached 20 after one more factory worker succumbed to the burn injuries. The principal secretary of the Revenue Administration, K Phanindra Reddy convened a meeting with all the district officials including collector R Kannan to review the probe in the incident.
Speaking to the reporters after the meeting, Reddy said the district collector has been informed to provide the necessary legal documents to the kin of the victims and make sure the solatium announced by the state and the central government reach them without any delay.
He further added that they have put forth a request to the Controller of Explosives to direct training for all the workers of the fireworks unit by making an amendment to the Explosive Act via the Centre. Reddy said they discussed ways to prevent such incidents in the future.
Reddy suggested that a minimum qualification should be made mandatory for workers of all levels to be deployed in these units. The officials of PESO, Revenue, fire services, etc have been informed to keep a close watch and chalk out an inspection plan to ensure not more than the permitted number of workers are hired in both summer and festival seasons at these units.
On Friday, an explosion occurred at the ‘Sri Mariamman Fireworks factory’ situated at Vembakottai near Sattur. While the investigation on the cause of the accident is still under process, sources said the accident occurred due to the mishandling of chemical-filled fireworks. The factory which is spread on approximately 18-acre land had been involved in making fancy-type firecrackers. As many as 15 of the total rooms were totally charred. The incident had occurred when a sector of employees was about to take their lunch break.
According to local reports, though the factory unit is owned by one Santhanamari, as many as four people had taken lease and were running the operations. To yield more profit, they had employed more employees in congested spaces and forced them to work for long hours flouting all the safety norms. The employees whose livelihood entirely depends on these fireworks had been working without raising any objections. Some of them had even engaged their children in this business.
The district police have booked three people including the owner of the factory in connection with the incident.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an ex-gratia of two lakh rupees each to the kin of those who have lost their lives due to the fire, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced three lakh rupees each to the kin of the deceased and one lakh each to the critically injured in the fire accident.
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