Illegally run ‘unit’ belonged to AIADMK councillor

Four persons, including two children, were killed on the spot and 10 others injured in a blast that occurred at a house where fuses meant for use in crackers were being illegally manufactured at Ondipuli Nayakanur on Friday. The unit was run by a panchayat union councillor of the AIADMK.

Among the deceased were Arumaidurai (40), a 10-year-old girl, C. Kutti Kalai, S. Ponnammal (70) and R. Kalimuthu (13). While Arumaidurai is identified as one of the workers at the illegal unit, the others were residents of a nearby Adi Dravidar colony. The child was playing outside her home when debris from the building hit her. Friction while handling chemicals is said to have triggered the explosion at around 5.30 p.m. that razed a huge godown where finished fuses were heavily stocked. Durairaj and Sankaravel, who were making fuses along with Arumadurai, have been admitted with 100 per cent burns to the Sivakasi Government Hospital, the police said. The victims of the nearby colony died after debris flying from the blast spot hit them. The police said Lakshmi (29) of the same residential colony has been referred to Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai. The illegal unit is being run by N. Ayyappan and P. Meenakshi Sundaram, who is an AIADMK councillor of the Virudhunagar panchayat union.

On March 15, a team of Organised Crime Intelligence Unit raided this illegal unit and found a quantity of 60,000 gross fuses. On being alerted, the district police arrested 10 persons who got their bail the next day. Mr. Meenakshi Sundaram, who was also present during the raid, however, “managed” to escape.

Inaction on the part of the district police had led to the gory accident, villagers complained to the District Collector T.N. Hariharan and Superintendent of Police S. Maheswaran. They sought immediate arrest of the culprits and suitable compensation for the family members of victims.