Solan, October 3
Four labourers sustained minor injuries following a blast this afternoon in a cracker store at Mela Ground at Baddi where work to erect a Ravana effigy was under way for Dasehra.
The cause of the blast was yet to be ascertained. The blast blew the walls of the store, injuring four persons — three labourers Dharamveer Singh, Som Pal and Om Prakash and Baddi Municipal Committee employee Mahinder Singh.
Seven fire tenders were rushed to the spot. The injured were taken to a local hospital where there condition was stated to be stable.
SP Mohit Chawla, who visited the spot, said contractors assigned the task to erect the Ravana effigy by the local civic body did not have any licence for storing crackers. The absence of due protocol in storing crackers appears to have triggered the blast.
Saleem, a Moradabad resident, who was entrusted with the task to prepare the dummy using crackers, failed to adopt the safety precautions. He has been booked by the police for negligence.
The police have registered a case of negligence under Sections 286, 336 and 337 of the IPC for negligence and endangering human life on a complaint made by Mahinder Singh, an employee of the Baddi MC.
Mahinder Pal, SDM, Nalagarh, who went to probe the incident, faced an unsavoury situation when the BJP-supported civic body chairman Jassi Chaudhary, vice-chairman Man Singh Chaudhary, BJP leader Gurmail Chaudhary and Sanjeev, husband of a councillor, got into an altercation over lack of permission to store crackers.
When the Executive Officer of the MC was asked why permission was not taken for purchasing crackers, he had no reply following which the SDM asked him to explain.
This triggered protest and the BJP leaders courted arrest. They were taken to the police station. The SDM also followed them. An unsavoury situation prevailed at the police station for over two hours as BJP leaders tried to prevail over the official.
The intervention of the local MLA Paramjeet Singh helped the situation normalise after more than two hours. Glasses of nearby houses even on the second and third floor were damaged in the blast as huge quantities of crackers were stacked.
A tent house owner also suffered loss as his material was stacked in the same building.
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