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Bengal: Malda factory blast kills five, sets off politics

A huge police contingent and fire tenders have been sent to the spot and efforts are on to clear the debris. The police suspect there could be more people trapped under the debris.

Written by Sweety Kumari | Malda | Updated: November 20, 2020 5:41:02 am
Crowd gathered at the hospital in Malda. (Express photo)

Five workers were killed and at least four others injured in an explosion at a plastic factory in Sujapur area of West Bengal’s Malda district on Thursday.

The injured are being treated at Malda Medical College and Hospital. The explosion, which occurred at 11.30 am, brought down a major portion of the building, and parts of machinery were flung a few metres away.

The BJP demanded an impartial inquiry into the blast, alleging that the factory was illegally used to make bombs.

BJP national general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya tweeted: “A blast at a plastic factory in Malda district (WB) has killed five people. The incident took place in Sujapur area at 11 am. Though it is said to be a plastic factory but we also hear that bombs were being made here for the Assembly elections. If police investigate properly, they will find out the TMC connection.”

The state Home Department rejected the claim. “The Malda Sujapur plastic factory accident is related to manufacturing process issues and has nothing to do with illegal bomb making, as suggested non-responsibly by some quarters. DM and SP on spot have been reporting to state officers after urgent enquiries and compensation steps have been taken. A senior minister has flown to site and it is time to be factually correct. The government is helping the victims and their families,” tweeted the Home Department.

SP Alok Rajoria said the blast occurred due to a “mechanical failure of a 45-horsepower machine”. Four of the deceased died on spot and another on reaching hospital.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar tweeted, “Anguished at deaths in reported blast that ripped establishment apart at Sujapur area of Malda district. According to SP, five killed & five injured. Time @MamataOfficial to proactively contain illegal bomb making and ensure professional non-partisan investigations @WBPolice.”

The Chief Minister has ordered a detailed probe into the case.

Addressing the media, Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay said that besides the district magistrate and the SP, Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim visited the site, met the families of the deceased and extended support. TMC leader Mausum Noor met the injured at the hospital.

“As per the Disaster Management Act, a compensation of Rs 2 lakh will be given to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the treatment of the injured,” the chief secretary said.

Police personnel have been deployed in the area and rescue teams were clearing the debris at the time of going to press.

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