Cracker units mishap: Centre to post more staff at PESO office

Cracker units mishap: Centre to post more staff at PESO office

In a bid to strengthen monitoring of fire cracker units in view of recurring mishaps, Centre would soon post more personnel to a regulatory office here, vested with the responsibility of inspecting over 700 units in the country's fireworks hub.

Though there were over 700 fireworks units in this district, Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) office, under the Union Commerce and Industry Ministry, had only four staff to inspect them, Minister of State in PMO V Narayanasamy told reporters here last evening.

He was speaking after distributing solatium of Rs two lakh announced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to the families of 39 people who were killed in the September 5 fire accident at a fireworks unit near Sivakasi in the district.

PESO, a statutory authority, has an overall objective of ensuring safety and security of public and property from fire and explosion and entrusted with administration of Explosives Act, Petroleum Act and Inflammable Substances Act.

A staff of the PESO office here rued that despite several accidents at the fireworks units, the problem of inadequate manpower remained unaddressed.

Narayanasamy said Central scientists would soon visit Sivakasi and inspect the firecracker and match manufacturing units to find out if they were following laid down norms. They would recommend measures to modernise the units and improve safety standards.

Earlier, the Minister distributed the Centre's assistance totalling  Rs 1.06 crore to the kin of 39 victims and 56 injured in the accident.

Noting that many families had lost their breadwinners, he said the Centre would extend all possible assistance such as providing employment in Railways to them.

He also asked the fire cracker units to be very strict in maintaining the safety standards.
Meanwhile, an official report said surprise inspections carried out in fireworks factories till Saturday unearthed violations in 134 units.

The licences of eight units had been suspended and show-cause notices were issued to another nine units so far.