VISAKHAPATNAM: As feared by the police, the toll in the explosion at Rohit Cracker Manufacturing Unit at Gokulapadu in S Rayavaram mandal mounted to six Monday after locals found a body in a nearby well at the place where the incident took place Sunday. The deceased has been identified as S Ramana (28), a native of the village. Another five persons have been undergoing treatment in a private hospital here and the condition of three of them is said to be critical.
According to Yellamanchili inspector of police K Venkata Rao, the locals and the police team found a body floating in the nearby well Monday morning and retrieved it and identified as B Ramana. The injured, Ch Lakshmi (33) with 50 per cent burns, K Viswanadham (34) with 15 per cent burns, B Appa Rao (30) with 15 per cent burns, K Krishna (24) with 90 per cent burns and N Durga Lokesh (14) with 55 per cent burns, are undergoing treatment at Seven Hills Hospital.
The blast which took place Sunday evening left four persons - N Satyavathi (28), L Seshamma (40), S Lakshmi (50) of Gokulapadu and M Sattibabu (45) from Payakaraopeta - dead on the spot. They were burnt beyond recognition.
Sources said that at the time of the incident, there were 11 members - nine of whom were workers, N Satyavathi, L Seshamma, S Lakshmi and M Sattibabu, Ch Lakshmi, S Ramana, K Viswanadham, B Appa Rao and K Krishna. The other two, K Durga (14) and N Durga Lokesh (14) were children who came to the unit as it was Sunday. K Durga picked up his friend N Durga on his bicycle and the duo went to the unit. N Durga’s parents Ravanamma and Babji said that the two wanted to go cycling with friends in the afternoon and were chatting at the unit when the blast ripped through. Satyavathi, Seshamma, Lakshmi and Sattibabu died on the spot while K Durga (14) died on the way to hospital. Ramana who was found missing initially was found in the well Monday.
Locals who were working in the fields during the blast and sustained injuries in the process were given first aid at Nakkapalli hospital and discharged Sunday night.
Explaining the situation, one of the workers, Appa Rao, told Express that he had been working in the crackers manufacturing-cum-godown since 2002. The explosion happened in seconds, when he along with another worker, Viswanadham, went to the nearby pool for a wash. They too were hit by the blast and fled when their legs and elbows got burnt. He said that all of them had been working for years and said that it was an unfortunate incident caused by improper handling of crackers. He also mentioned that apart from the two storerooms, the unit also had a tent covered with coconut leaves since it is summer. The workers have been working there for the last 20 days.
“After fire broke out, it must have spread to the godown, where a large amount of crackers had been stored,” Appa Rao added.
Home Minister Visits Blast Site
State Home minister N China Rajappa visited the accident spot at Gokulapadu and the injured people at Seven Hills hospital. He said that he would recommend a higher amount of compensation. The CM has already sanctioned `2 lakh per family, the cheques for which were handed over to the kin of deceased. “The workers are from a very poor background, so we’ll try to increase the compensation. The govt will bear the treatment cost for the injured, and we’ll see about compensation as well,” he said. North Coastal Zone IG Kumar Viswajeet, DIG A Ravi Chandra, SP Koya Praveen were present.