The toll in Tuesday’s blast at Paridi village of Bobbili mandal in the district has gone up to five with two more bodies bodies being recovered from the debris. The two deceased were identified as K Eswara Rao (9) and P Lakshmi (35). Owner of the country-made bombs unit P Sattemma is under police custody.
Eswara Rao was a Third Class student in a private school. He was playing with other children near the house of Sattemma when the incident took place. Other children escaped with minor injuries.
According to sources, Sattemma’s family has been running the unit as small a scale industry for many years now. The family supplies crackers to several functions in and around the area. Huge stocks of crackers and bombs were understood to have been stored to meet the demand during a series of festivals ahead including Vinayaka Navaratri, Dasara Navaratri and Diwali.
N Kameswara Rao of Chinamerangi village of Kurupam mandal purchased crackers and was proceeding to his village. Suddenly, he met with an accident at Samudrapuram village near Parvathipuram and the crackers including the country-made went off killing him on the spot.
Anticipating police raids on her houses, Sattemma tried to shift the crackers and bombs to some other place. The explosion took place while the explosives were being packed in the gunny bags, locals told mediapersons.
It is learnt that Sattemma does not have a licence for manufacturing crackers or bombs in the village. Locals forced her to shift her unit to the outskirts of the village eight years ago when a pig died in an explosion after it tried to eat a country-made bomb taking it for a food substance.
Around 16 bags of crackers and bombs were found in the village outskirts and they were all dropped into river Vegavathi. Bobbili MLA R S R K Ranga Rao visited the village and took steps to fish the crackers out of the river.
Minister for Transport Botcha Satyanarayana visited the village and extended a financial assistance of Rs 10,000 each to the families of the victims from the Congress party funds.