The crushing plant explosion in Bengal might not have happened had the authorities heeded the complaints of local residents
Kolkata, August 27: The authorities in Duttapukur in north West Bengal 24-Parjanas turned a blind eye to what was going on in Mokpol village despite petitions from local residents. A man whose house was seriously injured in the blast said that had the necessary measures been taken, Sunday’s tragedy could have been averted.
A massive explosion at an illegal cracking plant in Mokpol around 9:30 am on Sunday killed a number of people – many of them workers from Murshidabad district – and destroyed a number of houses surrounding the land. Local residents claim that the death toll may reach 12 people. Bodies are still being pulled from the rubble.
“The owner rented the building to Jirat Sk in Murshidabad about two years ago. Jirat and his local partner, Karamat Ali, set up a cracker manufacturing unit there. There was a minor incident about six months ago after which the villagers petitioned the police.” A neighbor whose house was severely damaged in the explosion said: “Jerat’s house was badly damaged in the explosion.”
Angry locals clashed with the police when the latter tried to reach the scene on Sunday. An official vehicle was also damaged. A large police force, including members of the British Royal Air Force, arrived at the scene later and took control of the situation.
“Girat is on the run. However, Karamat and his son are suspected of being killed in the blast. There were about five to six workers from Murshidabad as well. The rest were locals. It was a horrible sight. It was a loud scene – another villager said”The blast was So severe that the bodies were torn apart. There is no way to identify the dead.”
A senior district police officer confirmed that at least seven people were killed in the blast. He said a proper investigation would be opened after the area was searched.
A few months ago, a similar explosion occurred in Egra in East Midnapore district of West Bengal, killing several people. The state government then promised to curb such illegal activities and urged cracker manufacturers to apply for licenses to manufacture green crackers.
(Jayanta Gupta can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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