Tragedy Strikes: Illegal Firecracker Factory Blast Claims Nine Lives in West Bengal
The Nilganj-Barasat area in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district was still shaken on Monday, a day after a blast at an illegal firecracker factory left nine dead and seven injured. The explosion was so intense that some of the victims’ body parts were found as far as 50 meters away from the blast site.
Smartkhabrinews Investigates the Aftermath
Smartkhabrinews reporters visited the area to assess the ground situation following the tragic incident. One of the partners in the factory, Safikul, has been arrested in connection with the blast. The devastating impact of the explosion is evident as the one-and-a-half storey building at the blast site has been reduced to debris. Even a concrete house located just behind the blast site suffered partial damage.
A JCB machine is diligently working to clear the debris, while both the police forensic team and fire department officers are painstakingly searching for any potential additional casualties. The scene is one of shock and devastation, as local residents gather at the side of the road, grappling with the tragedy that has unfolded.
“Most of the houses in the vicinity have borne the impact. This is not the first time. Six months ago, a woman suffered major burns in a small blast. We were scared. We told the police too, but they are so powerful that no action was taken. My house is 50 feet away from their house. You can see the impact on my house.” – Taslima, a resident of Nilganj
Residents in the area recount the terror they’ve endured due to the illegal firecracker factory’s activities. Taslima, an old resident of Nilganj, reveals that the factory’s owners have been running their operations for the past three years, and incidents of smaller blasts have occurred before. Despite efforts to alert the police, no substantial action was taken against the factory. The impact of the explosion is visible on neighboring houses, some of which have suffered significant structural damage.
A new two-storey house situated opposite the blast site is now crumbling from one side. The owner, Tajmira Biwi, expresses her heartbreak as she recounts the years of savings that went into building the house, only for it to be destroyed in an instant. She reveals that they had approached the police previously with complaints about the factory, but were met with threats of counteraction.
Unearthing Disturbing Revelations
Amid the chaos and commotion surrounding the blast site, another grim discovery was made – the ninth victim’s body was found in a nearby pond. Behind the blast site, tents were set up to store various materials related to firecracker production, including gunpowder and raw materials.
Curiously, experts point out that stone chips, which were also stored at the site, are not typically used in firecracker manufacturing. This discrepancy raises questions about the nature of the activities conducted at the factory and the level of police oversight in the area. Interestingly, another firecracker factory with modernized equipment was discovered about 950 meters away in an abandoned brick kiln.
Smartkhabrinews’ investigation uncovered a makeshift room within the factory premises equipped with machinery and a laboratory setup for producing firecrackers. Police raids were conducted in the area, although local residents assert that the police were already aware of the factory’s operations and that the raids were prompted by the recent blast.
Seeking Answers and Accountability
Following a similar incident on May 16 involving an illegal firecracker factory explosion in Egra that claimed 12 lives, questions are being raised about the lack of police action in curtailing such hazardous activities. Despite the suspension of two police personnel, the administration’s efforts to establish safer alternatives, such as green cracker factories, are overshadowed by ongoing tragedies.
Moreover, connections to the neighboring Murshidabad region have raised concerns. The presence of laborers from the Suti area in Murshidabad near the blast site has sparked investigations into their involvement. The community demands answers as to why laborers from a distant village were brought to work in the factory.
Legal Implications and Accountability
The legal aspect of the incident takes center stage, with the Calcutta High Court set to address a petition filed by Suvendhu Adhikary of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Adhikary alleges the presence of RDX at the blast site, prompting the involvement of the National Investigation Agency (NIA). West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee acknowledges the concerns of police inaction and corruption allegations. She emphasizes the need for adherence to the law, while also highlighting efforts to promote safer practices in various industries.
The tragic incident at the illegal firecracker factory in Nilganj-Barasat serves as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by unregulated manufacturing operations. As investigations continue and legal actions unfold, the community and authorities must come together to prevent further loss of life and property due to such hazardous activities.