At least seven migrant women workers were charred to death on Tuesday after an explosion occurred in an illegal firecracker factory at the Bathu industrial area in Himachal Pradesh’s Una district.
Twelve other workers suffered burn injuries and have been hospitalised.
Una Deputy Commissioner Raghav Sharma confirmed with the media that the blast occurred in a firecracker manufacturing unit.
Officials told IANS that the factory was not registered with the industries department and was being run illegally. The owner used illegal electricity connection to steal power for the unit. A search is on for the absconding owner.
Sudesh Mokhta, Director, State Disaster Management Authority, said the incident took place at around 10.15 am in a firecracker unit at Gurpalah near Bathri in Tahliwal industrial area.
The injured were rushed to the Sian Hospital in Bathri where the condition of 10 persons is said to be serious, while two suffered minor injuries, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Rs 200,000 each as relief to the next of kin of those who died in the explosion.
“Rs 2 lakh each from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF) would be given to the next of kin of those who lost their lives in the tragic factory mishap in Himachal Pradesh. Rs. 50,000 would be given to the injured,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur expressed grief over the fire incident and directed the district administration to immediately provide relief and rehabilitation to the affected persons and take stern action against the guilty as per law.
The Chief Minister announced Rs 4 lakh each to the next kin of the deceased and a special messenger has been sent to provide Rs 15,000 each to the seriously injured persons. Similarly, Rs 5,000 each has been provided to three persons admitted to the Una hospital.
He ordered the Divisional Commissioner to probe the incident and asked to submit a report within a week.
Thakur said that an inquiry would also be conducted regarding renting out land for the illegal cracker factory.