VIJAYAWADA: With Diwali inching closer and multiple incidents of workers of firecracker manufacturing units getting injured due to accidental explosions getting reported, police officials have carried out Statewide inspections and cracked the whip on illegal cracker manufacturers.
During the raids, officials found that 53 such units in East Godavari and one in Nellore did not maintain safety precautions; 184 units were operating without obtaining necessary permissions from the Fire department and the Pollution Control Board. As many as 105 persons were arrested.
According to the Fire wing officials, the State has 244 registered fireworks manufacturing units, of which 113 are located in its eastern region.
Around 500 units are reportedly operating in rural areas without obtaining permission from officials.
As per the regulations set by the Fire department, every firecracker manufacturer should have fire extinguishers, hose reel, yard hydrants, automatic sprinkler system, smoke detectors, fire pumps and a water storage tank. The ground reality shows another picture. “Of the 64 units in East Godavari, 53 did not comply with the basic fire safety regulations, jeopardising their workers’ safety. Notices were served on them to improve the safety measures,” said police.
As part of the raids, Krishna district police seized firecrackers worth Rs 1.2 crore stored illegally in a warehouse on Wednesday. In another incident, Machilipatnam police raided a shop in Inaguduru village and found that the trader had stored raw materials, explosive by nature, for crackers. From them, the police seized 20 kg of aluminium beed, 225 kg of Potassium Nitrate, 30 kg of aluminium razan, 100 kg of coal powder, 10 kg Barium Nitrate and 500 grams of Sulphur. “The accused procured raw material from various sources and was selling them to manufacturers in the district,” said Krishna SP M Ravindranath Babu.
The officials warned errant traders of filing criminal cases against them for risking their workers’ safety. “Every year, at least ten people lose their lives due to blasts in units. Criminal cases will be filed against traders if they are caught operating without a licence,” the SP said.