Two killed in Malda fire-cracker factory fire, political slugfest erupts

Kolkata: Two people were killed in a fire that broke out at an illegal fire-cracker warehouse at English Bazar in West Bengal’s Malda district early on Tuesday.

Two others are battling for life at a local hospital in an “extremely” critical condition.

According to state fire services department sources, over nine hours have passed since the fire broke out at the illegal warehouse but the firemen are yet to douse it completely. Narrow approach-way made the fire-tenders reaching the spot tough.

Secondly, officials said, because of adjacent shops with inflammable items, including some fire-cracker shops in that congested area, the fire had spread and there were several hidden fire-pockets. “Unless each and every hidden fire-pocket is identified and extinguished totally, the cooling process cannot start,” a fire official present at the spot said.

This is the third major case of explosion at illegal fire-cracker units in the state during the last seven days. The total number of deaths so far in these three mishaps combined so far is 17.

A total of 12 persons died in an explosion at an illegal -fire- crackers factory Egra in East Midnapore on May 16. On May 21 night, a similar explosion took place at an illegal fire-cracker warehouse at Maheshtala in South 24 Parganas district killing three persons, including a minor girl. Now with already two deaths being reported from Malda, the total death figure on this count has touched 17 in the last seven days.

Meanwhile, as usual, a political slugfest has erupted over the mishap at Malda.

According to BJP’s spokesperson in the state Samik Bhattacharya, West Bengal is virtually standing on a volcano because of these mushrooming illegal fire-cracker manufacturing and storing entities which is happening because of the indulgence of the ruling Trinamool Congress and the local administration. “In many such factories besides fire- crackers, crude bombs too are being manufactured,” he said.

Veteran Trinamool Congress Lok Sabha member, Saugata Roy said that often because of the excessive heat because of the rising temperature level, raw material used for manufacturing fire- crackers like potassium chlorate and arsenic trisulphide explodes automatically and because of the cause of fire. “BJP is unnecessarily resorting to politics over the mishap,” he said.


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