23 killed in firecracker factory blast in Batala; Capt orders probe

BATALA/CHANDIGARH: Twenty-three people were killed and 27 others injured, some of them seriously, when a series of blasts rocked a firecracker manufacturing unit located near Balmiki Ashram on Jalandhar road in the heart of the city on Wednesday afternoon.

gspannu7@gmail.com

Ravi Dhaliwal
Tribune News Service
Batala/Chandigarh, September 4

Twenty-three people were killed and 27 others injured, some of them seriously, when a series of blasts rocked a firecracker manufacturing unit located near Balmiki Ashram on Jalandhar road in the heart of the city on Wednesday afternoon. 

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.

Read: Narrow escape for some in Batala factory blast

A massive traffic jam prevented administration and police officials to go in for a full-scale rescue operation.

The tragedy occurred in one of the most populous areas of the town.

On January 21, 2017, a similar blast, which had ripped apart several shops in the same area, had left one person dead and three injured.

At that time the administration had ordered a magisterial probe. However, the findings of that inquiry are not known to anybody among administration officials.  

The blasts occurred a day ahead of the 532nd birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. Festivities are held in the city every year and this time too they were on in full swing when residents heard two loud blasts and a series of low-decibel level ones.

Devotees from nearby cities were slowly converging on the city even as news of the tragedy spread like wildfire.

Such was the impact of the explosion that several houses adjoining the cracker factory fell like the proverbial house of cards.

“Within a time span of three minutes, two houses collapsed right in front of me,” said Vishal.   

Crowds kept on swelling with every passing minute leading to jams. Fire tenders and ambulances requisitioned from Gurdaspur and Amritsar had a hard time reaching the spot.

Magisterial inquiry ordered

Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh has marked a inquiry into the incident to Batala ADC. 

The CM also directed Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa to immediately rush to the spot to oversee the relief and rescue operations.

He announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the seven severely injured, who were referred to Amritsar Medical College. He has announced Rs 25,000 for those with minor injuries. 

Capt Amarinder also directed both the civil and police administration of Gurdaspur district to extend all possible help to the victims’ families in this hour of grief. He also directed the Deputy Commissioner to provide the best possible treatment to the injured free of cost, besides asking the Batala SSP to supervise the evacuation operations being carried out by the NDRF teams.

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.

Top Stories

Govt expert panel recommends regular market approval for Covishield, Covaxin

Covaxin, Covishield cleared for full market approval

First shots in India to be recommended for regular authorisa...

NDA finalises alliance with Apna Dal, Nishad Party

Uttar Pradesh polls: BJP finalises seat-sharing with Apna Dal and Nishad Party

Leaders did not give numbers but said that the three parties...

IndiGo planes avert mid-air collision over Bengaluru airport; DGCA to probe, take strict action

IndiGo planes avert mid-air collision over Bengaluru airport; DGCA to probe, take strict action

The incident occurred on January 9; not logged in any logboo...

DGCA extends suspension of scheduled international passenger flights till February 28

DGCA extends suspension of scheduled international passenger flights till February 28

Scheduled international passenger flights have been suspende...

In Punjab mining raids, ED seizes Rs 10 crore in cash, including from CM's relative

Punjab mining raids: ED seizes Rs 8-crore cash from CM Channi’s relative; Rs 21 lakh gold

Agency sources refute allegations of high-handedness, saying...

Cities

View All