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Published On: Wed, Sep 4th, 2019

Death toll in Gurdaspur factory blast jumps to 23

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816392-gurdaspur-blast-punjabGURDASPUR (Punjab): At least 23 people died while and dozens are feared trapped after a massive explosion took place today at an unauthorised firecracker manufacturing factory in a densely-populated residential area in Punjab’s Gurdaspur on Wednesday.

Several fire engines are currently at the spot carrying out the rescue work to bring the situation under the control. Ten nearby buildings were also damaged in the explosion. The cause of the blast is still unknown.
Many others were also injured in the blast while few others are still believed to be trapped inside the rubble. According to Sources- the intensity of the blast was so huge that it damaged several houses including a car workshop located near the factory. Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were rushed to spot to speed up the rescue operation.
News agency IANS quoted an official saying that the firecracker manufacturing unit was unauthorised and being run in a densely-populated residential area in Gurdaspur district.Locals complained the firecracker unit was running illegally for the past many years.

It were manufacturing and storing crackers for a `nagar kirtan` – a religious procession relating to the birth anniversary celebrations of Sikhism`s founder Guru Nanak Dev – slated to reach the town late Wednesday evening.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh took to Twitter and expressed anguish over the incident, writing, “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.”
CM Amarinder also announced an ex-gratia grant of Rs 2 lakhs for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the seven severely injured, who were referred to Amritsar Medical College. He also announced Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries. He, along with Punjab Congress President Sunil Jakhar will reach Batala on Thursday at 11:00 am to take stock of the situation.

Newly-elected Gurdaspur MP and actor Sunny Deol also took to social media and condoled the tragedy as he wrote, “Saddened to hear about the news of blast in Batala factory.NDRF teams and local administration has been rushed for rescue operation.”

 

Locals complained the firecracker unit was running illegally for the past many years. It were manufacturing and storing crackers for a ‘nagar kirtan’ – a religious procession relating to the birth anniversary celebrations of Sikhism’s founder Guru Nanak Dev – slated to reach the town late Wednesday evening agency reported.

“The firecracker factory has been working in this locality for the many years. We have complained against the factory seven-eight times to the local administration, but no action has been taken against it,” a local resident told the media. He said a similar blast occurred in this area in January 2017, leaving one person dead and three injured.
CM Amarinder Singh said rescue operations are underway with the District Collector and the Senior Superintendent of Police heading the relief efforts.(With Inputs from agencies).

 

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