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6 Feb, 2024 13:37

Fireworks factory blast leaves almost dozen dead (VIDEOS)

At least 11 workers have been killed and over 100 injured in a series of explosions in central India on Tuesday
Fireworks factory blast leaves almost dozen dead (VIDEOS)

At least 11 people were killed and around 100 injured in a giant blast at a firecracker factory in central India’s Madhya Pradesh state on Tuesday. The local chief minister has vowed to punish those responsible for the incident, which he claimed was arson.

Over 60 of those injured in the blast in the Harda district have been transported to hospital, with many in critical condition, Indian media reported, citing local officials.

Around 100 houses in the vicinity were reportedly damaged by the flames. A large quantity of gunpowder, believed to have been illegally stored inside the factory, could have led to the explosion.

Footage shared on social media showed chaotic scenes at the blast site, as smoke billowed from the factory and people fled in fear. The explosion resulted in a stampede, increasing the number of casualties, the reports noted.

Mohan Yadav, the chief minister of the state, said the blast was the result of a criminal act. “We will not spare the culprits of the arson incident. The state government will take strict action against the culprits. Relief work and providing treatment to the injured is our priority,” Yadav posted on X (formerly Twitter).

Yadav has also called an emergency meeting with senior officials to discuss further steps. Meanwhile, the state minister for transport and education, Uday Pratap Singh, was seen conducting an aerial survey of the fireworks factory to assess the damage.

The federal government will pay 200,000 rupees ($2,400) to the next of kin of each of the deceased and 50,000 rupees ($600) to those injured, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in a post on X. “The local administration is assisting all those affected,” he added. Indian President Draupadi Murmu has also conveyed her condolences to the victims’ families.

Fireworks are a common sight at weddings and festivals in India, helping the industry to thrive. However, accidents at factories manufacturing fireworks are common due to breaches of industry regulations and human error in handling explosive materials. Last year, blasts at a firecracker factory in southern India’s Tamil Nadu and in West Bengal killed at least 16 people in total.

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