On Sunday (27 August), at least 8 people lost their lives and several people sustained serious injuries after an explosion took place in an alleged firecracker factory in West Bengal.
The blast occurred in the Duttapukur area of West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district on Sunday morning, fire brigade officials said. As per preliminary media reports, the explosion occurred in a residential area, reducing it to smithereens.
The cause of the explosion is still unknown but the explosion was so powerful that it caused substantive damage to several buildings in the area. Following the incident, the authorities rushed to the site which is only a few kilometres away from the state capital Kolkata.
The police recovered five bodies from the explosion site, while two other people are said to have died at a hospital, Republic Bangla reported. The authorities are carrying out rescue operations as some people might still be trapped under debris.
The state food minister and legislator from the area, Rathin Ghosh confirmed that the police officers told him that seven or eight people died and around six people were injured in the explosion.
While speaking with the media, the state minister claimed that the building was being used for stocking firecrackers and police have shut down all illegal cracker units at Narayanpur.
Ghosh said, “District police officials told me that seven or eight people died and five to six people were injured. I will visit the spot. Firecrackers were stocked in the building in which the explosion took place. This is not an area where crackers were made. The main manufacturing hub was the Narayanpur area of Nilgunj which is far away from here. Police had shut down all the cracker units at Narayanpur.”
However, locals told media persons that the factory was being run from a house illegally. They stated that the explosion took place inside a two-story house around 10:40 a.m. in the Nilgunj area of Duttapukar.
Notably, this explosion in an allegedly illegal firecracker factory is not an isolated case in the state. In fact, West Bengal has been rocked with several similar incidents in the recent past. Evidently, in May, around nine people lost their lives while seven people were injured in an explosion in a firecracker factory at Egra in Midnapore district.
In May, another explosion took place at an illegal firecracker manufacturing unit in a residential area in South 24 Parganas district. At least three people were killed in that explosion.
Prior to that, in December last year, an explosion occurred at a firecracker factory at Mohanpur village in the Nodakhali area of South 24 Parganas district. That explosion claimed the lives of at least three people and left two people severely injured.
Although, the state government declared a new policy under which fireworks can be built only in industrial hubs, back-to-back explosions in allegedly illegal firecracker factories have exposed the state government’s work on this issue.
Suvendu Adhikari attacks TMC, accuses them of being involved with illegal firecracker manufacturers
The leader of Opposition in the West Bengal assembly, Suvendu Adhikari lambasted the TMC government led by Mamata Banerjee for its recurrent failure in getting rid of illegal firecrackers factories in the state. Taking to X, he reminded that the state government had made promises to crack down on illegal firecracker units following the May 16th explosion. He claimed that it was a bomb-making unit that was operated by TMC’s Bhanu Bag in Purba Medinipur.
He said, “After the explosion in a bomb-making unit operated by TMC’s Bhanu Bag at Khadikul village; Egra; Purba Medinipur, on May 16th, which claimed a dozen lives; the WB Govt made big claims about regulating the firecrackers industry.”
Another day another explosion in WB.
This time it’s in Duttapukur; North 24 Parganas.
The dead bodies are still being counted, most probably would surpass 10.
After the explosion in a bomb-making unit operated by TMC’s Bhanu Bag at Khadikul village; Egra; Purba Medinipur, on May… pic.twitter.com/afP21PuBmx
— Suvendu Adhikari • শুভেন্দু অধিকারী (@SuvenduWB) August 27, 2023
Going ahead, he highlighted the government’s stated stance. He said they (the West Bengal government) stated that it would be ensured that such illegal factories do not exist anymore and the state Cabinet decided to set up “Clusters for manufacturing green firecrackers”. Additionally, it claimed to form a committee headed by Chief Secretary Shri Hari Krishna Dwivedi (IAS) to look into the matter.
Claiming that just like in previous instances, no action would be taken in this fatal case, he said that the TMC government’s promises were nothing but a “publicity stunt”.
He alleged that the interests of the TMC party are aligned with these illegal explosive manufacturing units and any regulation or monitoring won’t be tolerated by the TMC goons.