7 suspended in TN cracker blast case; toll 32

7 suspended in TN cracker blast case; toll 32

Additional district magistrate orders probe under Explosives Act

The death toll in the worst-ever cracker blast tragedy in Tamil Nadu on Deepavali eve has gone up to 32.

Twenty-seven of the 32 dead, including a woman, were from the neighbouring district of Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh,  who had come to buy crackers for the festival from the cracker godown, Thiruvallur District Collector V Palanikumar told Deccan Herald.

The warehouse was on the unlicensed premises. The spark that set ablaze the crackers, trapping buyers at that time, was believed to have come “from inside the premises itself,” he said. A detailed probe by the additional district magistrate on the circumstances and causes of the explosion had been ordered under the Explosives Act. 

The immediate action against the officials, including four from the Revenue Department, was for “their failure to inspect and stop the illicit sale of crackers at the unlicensed premises” at Pallipattu, Palanikumar said.

This tragedy could have been avoided if the officials had simply done their job, but the collector said he would not comment until the investigation was completed. Three more unlicensed shops selling firecrackers were detected on Sunday by officials at Pallipattu itself and have been sealed, Palanikumar added. Three persons, including one Ananda Kumar, running the wholesale business on the premises, Jaishankar, the building owner, and Madhu, a worker in the crackers godown, have so far been arrested in connection with the tragedy, he said. Given the tragedy's gravity, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi ordered payment of Rs 1 lakh as solatium to the relatives of all the dead even though most were from Andhra Pradesh, the collector added.

Most victims from AP

A majority of the victims of the fire in the cracker godown in Pallipattu town in Tiruvallur district of Tamilnadu belong to Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, reports DHNS from Hyderabad .

Twenty-four out of the 32 dead in the ghastly fire of Friday last belong to Andhra Pradesh. Pallipattu town is on Andhra Pradesh-Tamilnadu border. The buyers had gone to buy crackers as they were advertised as being low cost. The government of Andhra Pradesh has announced an ex-gratia compensation of Rs one lakh to each of the affected family. Chief Minister K Rosaiah announced the compensation on Sunday.