Punjab firecracker factory blast kills 16
The impact of the explosion was such that the factory was completely destroyed, leaving nearby buildings damaged and over dozens injured
At least 16 people have died and dozens are feared trapped after a massive explosion took place on Wednesday at a firecracker making factory in Punjab's Gurdaspur.
The incident took place around 4 pm at the factory located in a residential area in Gurdaspur's Batala, Inspector General (Border Range) SPS Parmar said. The impact of the explosion was such that the factory was completely destroyed, leaving nearby buildings damaged, too. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said rescue operations are underway with the District Collector and the Senior Superintendent of Police heading the relief efforts.
"Deeply anguished to learn of the loss of lives due to the blast in the firecracker factory in Batala. Rescue operations are underway with the DC & SSP heading the relief efforts," he tweeted. Gurdaspur MP Sunny Deol too expressed grief over the incident. "Saddened to hear about the news of blast in Batala factory. NDRF teams and local administration have been rushed for rescue operation," Deol said in his tweet.
Teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) are aiding rescue operations. Senior police and district administration are also present at the spot. Residents in the neighbourhood have in the past complained that the factory is illegal, but claim that authorities have failed to take any action. Several demands were also made that the factory should be closed down.
Opposition parties in Punjab accused the government of failing to take any action against the illegal factory
There was another explosion at the site in 2017, in which one person had died. The opposition parties in Punjab accused the government of failing to take any action, with Akali Dal leader Bikram Singh Mathijia asking how an illegal factory had been allowed to operate for so long.
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