Explosion kills 24

Published: Friday 15 May 2009

Firecracker factory was operating illegally

an explosion in a firecracker factory in Maharashtra's Jalgaon district killed 24 people, including six minors, and injured 35 others.

The police are yet to ascertain the cause of the explosion on April 10 at Savitri Fireworks, at Parola, about 60 km from Jalgaon city. "The factory's licence was suspended in October last year, but we were not informed about it," said Kunal Kumar, collector of Jalgaon. According to Kumar, whenever the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation revokes the licence of a firecracker factory, it has to inform the district administration in writing. Savitri Fireworks is owned by Govind Eknath Shirole, Shiv Sena leader and president of Parola municipal council. The police have registered a case against the owner and the factory's top officials.

S M Mannan, deputy controller of explosives, who is looking into the incident, refused to comment saying he was not authorized to speak to the press. In February this year, an explosion in another illegal firecracker factory in Beed district had killed seven workers (see 'Explosion kills young girls', Down To Earth, February 16-28, 2009).

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