Tamil Nadu

Seven women killed in cracker unit explosion in Tamil Nadu’s Cuddalore district

The cracker manufacturing unit which was destroyed in the blast at Kurungudi near Kattumannarkovil in Cuddalore district on Friday. Photo: Special Arrangement  

Seven women were killed and two others sustained serious injuries in an explosion at a firecracker manufacturing unit at Kurungudi, near Kattumannarkovil, in Cuddalore district on Friday.

Collector Chandra Sekhar Sakhamuri said the unit did not have a licence to handle explosives. Its licence expired in March.

While five women died on the spot, two others succumbed to burns at the Kattumannarkovil Government Hospital. M. Thenmozhi, 35, and D. Anitha, 20, who sustained severe injuries, were rushed to the Kattumannarkovil Government Hospital and referred to the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) in Puducherry. The police gave the names of the victims as C. Gandhimathi, 57, owner of the unit; U. Chitra, 45; M. Raasathi, 50; N. Latha, 42; P. Malarkodi, 25; R. Rukmani, 38; and R. Rathnamal, 60. All of them hailed from Kurungudi.

The police said the accident occurred around 11 a.m. at the licensed unit when nine women were working. A fire broke out and the country-made crackers stocked on the premises exploded. The concrete structure, including the roof and the walls, collapsed. Everything was gutted.

The explosion was so severe that the limbs of the victims were flung far away. A few of them suffered over 80% burns, and were charred beyond recognition.

The unit, which made country-made fireworks for temple festivals, resumed operations recently.

Superintendent of Police M. Sree Abhinav said the police were ascertaining the cause. Mr. Sakhamuri told The Hindu that an inquiry committee would be established.

“The unit had a light explosive licence, and it was functioning for the last 30 years. However, the licence had expired and it was not renewed,” he said. The Chidambaram Sub-Collector had visited the site a few days ago, but it was vacant. The unit started operations on Friday and it had brought the explosives without authorisation, he said.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami condoled the death and announced ₹2 lakh in solatium each to the families of the victims from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund. In a statement, he said he directed Industries Minister M.C. Sampath and the Cuddalore Collector to ensure relief and rush those injured to hospital.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit condoled the death. He said: “I offer my deep condolences to the families of those who are mourning the loss of their near and dear ones. I join the people of Tamil Nadu in praying for the early and complete recovery of the injured admitted in hospitals.”

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 8:19:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/seven-women-killed-in-cracker-unit-blast-in-kurungudi/article32522244.ece

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