February 25, 2021 10:36:29 pm
Days after a devastating fire ripped through a cracker factory near Sattur district of Tamil Nadu, leaving over 20 people dead, another blast wrought similar mayhem inside a fireworks unit at Kalayarkurichi village in Sivakasi district of Tamil Nadu on Thursday.
Putting the toll at five, including three women, police said 13 people also received injuries in the blast at the Thangaraj fireworks unit. Over 40 fire department personnel battled the blaze and district police officers were also at the scene.
As many as 10 rooms at the unit were completely gutted, said Virudhunagar SP P Perumal, adding the fire had been put out. “Rescue work is underway. More than 13 people were injured in the incident. Some of them were rushed to Madurai hospital, while the rest were admitted to the Sivakasi Government Hospital,” he said.
The SP added that preliminary inquiry suggests that the unit did not violate any norms and wasn’t over-staffed as was the case in the Sattur incident.
Local reports said the accident might have occurred because of an error in the mixing of chemicals to produce crackers. The proprietor of the fireworks unit has been identified as Thangaraj.
After the Sattur incident, K Phanindra Reddy, the principal secretary of the Revenue Administration, convened a meeting with all district officials, including collector R Kannan, to take stock of the progress of investigation in the case. Later, speaking to reporters, Reddy said he had put forth a request to the Controller of Explosives to ensure proper training for all the workers at the cracker factory by way of an amendment to the Explosives Act with the Centre’s help.
He even suggested that a minimum qualification be made mandatory for workers at all levels before they are deployed at these units. The officials of PESO, Revenue and Fire Services were instructed to chalk out an inspection plan to ensure no more than the permitted number of workers are hired at these units in summer and during the festive season.
Thursday’s was the third such incident in the state over the last couple of weeks. Cadres of the ruling AIADMK had planned huge celebrations to mark the return of expelled leader VK Sasikala to Chennai. Two cars laden with fireworks for one such event had caught fire while they were parked near the Krishnagiri toll gate. The cadres had stacked up fireworks inside the cars to welcome Sasikala, and, with the vehicles parked close to one another, one of them caught fire while one group of supporters were bursting crackers.
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