Explosion in Naihati rocks both banks of Hooghly

Lack of expertise and callousness of the police led to the blast, say experts

A massive explosion in West Bengal’s Naihati on Thursday rocked both banks of river Ganga in the North 24 Parganas and the Hooghly district.

Non-concrete roofs of a number houses in Naihati were blown off due to the impact of the explosion whereas glass panels of a number of houses including the municipality in Chinsurah came crashing down on the other side of the river.

The explosion occurred when the police were trying to diffuse material seized from a fire cracker factory in Naihati. According to police, the material was recovered from the factory. At least two police personnel who were trying to diffuse the explosive sustained injuries.

An enormous mushroom cloud was seen in videos of the explosion triggering panic among people who came out of their homes in both the districts. “Why was the impact of the explosion so high, we will investigate. A huge quantity of explosives was seized and the bomb disposal squad was trying to dispose them off,” Barrackpore Police Commissioner Manoj Verma said. The material was seized following an explosion in the cracker manufacturing unit on Janaury 3, killing four workers.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar tweeted videos of the explosion saying “it leaves nothing to imagination”.

“It calls for a thorough probe in view of its seriousness, intensity and damage caused. Only expert investigation can unearth the issues involved. This ominous development should be an eye-opener for law enforcing and regulatory regime in the State,” Mr. Dhankhar said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she had sent the local MLA to Naihati to take stock of the situation. “If there are any cracks because of the explosion, we will provide compensation to the people,” she said

State BJP president Dilip Ghosh demanded probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) and CPI(M) Polit Bureau member Md. Salim said Ms. Banerjee was trying to fool people by describing places where crude bombs were made as cracker factories.

Experts blamed the lack of expertise and callousness of the police for the explosion. “What kind of explosive is there who knows? Two officers of CID who have done a short course on explosives were present and I think they had no expertise to determine what they were trying to diffuse,” Salil Bhattacharya, a retired police officer said. According to reports, the police had been diffusing explosives over the last few days and each time they did it was resulting in a loud explosion.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2020 5:54:27 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/explosion-in-naihati-rocks-both-banks-of-hooghly/article30528018.ece

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