VIRUDHUNAGAR: A day after the Kanishkar Fireworks blast took lives of 13 people, relatives of many of the deceased staged a protest in Alagapuri on Wednesday refusing to accept the bodies. They demanded the government provide them with free patta land, jobs and additional solatium.
Sources said initial peace talks conducted by officials failed, forcing senior officials from the district administration to meet the families. They assured the families they would do their best to meet the demands. Subsequently, the families accepted the bodies. The solatium of Rs 3 lakh, announced by the state government, was provided to the families. Meanwhile, M Pudupatti police booked cracker shop owners R Sundaramoorthy (43) and his wife Kaleeshwari, the foreman and manager G Kanagu (41) along with workers E Ramkumar (25) and Jeyamurugan under Sections 286, 337, 304 (ii) of IPC read with 9(B) (1) (1) of the Explosives Act.
Ramkumar and Jeyamurugan, husband of one of the deceased, had been testing the crackers near the shop when the explosion at occurred. Sundaramoorthy, Kanagu and Ramkumar were arrested.
Labour Welfare Minister CV Ganesan said strict action would be taken against government officials if such accidents were found to be caused by their negligence. Sources said the minister had pulled up officials during a review meeting for failing to prevent illegalities at cracker units despite the possibility of mishaps occurring amid the Deepavali rush.
The review meeting was held in the presence of ministers Ganesan, Thangam Thennarasu, collector V P Jeyaseelan, government officials, and cracker unit manufacturers. Ganesan pointed out several causes for such mishaps, including the employment of more workers than permitted, storing of more chemicals than allowed and use of illegal sheds.
Later, he told reporters that officials had been instructed to carry out inspections to prevent such accidents. “Grade nine student Sandya, who lost her mother in the accident, will be provided with a free housing patta and a house will be constructed soon,” he said. MP Manickam Tagore had written to PM Modi asking financial aid of `10 lakh to the bereaved families.