It reminded us of pipeline blast: AP villagers

It reminded us of pipeline blast: AP villagers

The explosion at the Manikantha firecrackers-making unit in the sleepy Vakatitippa village in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh 450 km from here, has reminded its people of the Gail pipeline blast near Nagaram in the same district in June.

The sound of the blast that ripped through the shed on Monday afternoon was heard some five km away, in Uppada, Komarangi, Kottapalli, Kumudupalli and Vakatippa. The residents feared that another pipeline had exploded and and ran towards Vakatitippa.

A TV journalist, who was the first to reach the blast site, said: “I saw charred bodies, particularly of women, scattered everywhere.” The unit, nearly 20 years old, employed mostly women. “The owner Chukka Srinivasa Rao, who is also injured, has stored a lot of Potash and tonnes of crackers, particularly the flower pots, bombs, and rockets under the same roof. The fire might have caused because of a cigarette,” Additional SP Damodar said.

The police on Tuesday found several limbs strewn at least 100 metres away from the blast site. “The additional limbs indicate that there were many more workers inside or at the perimeter of the unit at the time of the blast,” the revenue officials said.

However, the district officials are in confusion over licence issued to Rao to manufacture and store so much of explosives. “It is unfortunate that the revenue officials say the licence has been renewed, but the fire services say the licence has expired last month,” former MLA Vanga Geetha said after visiting the blast site.

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