Cracker Factory Blast, Owners Booked, 4 Godowns Sealed

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Chandigarh: A day after a blast rocked a cracker factory in Sangrur’s Sularghrat village, police filed an FIR against owners of the factory under the Explosives Act, and Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and 427 (mischief causing loss or damage) of the IPC. No arrests had been made at the time of filing this report. The factory is owned by Gandhi Ram Singla and Pardeep Kumar Singla.
On Wednesday morning, police sealed four godowns belonging to the duo. Deputy Commissioner A S Virk has ordered a probe into the incident by Sunam SDM and Dirba DSP. The owners had licences for only two godowns.

“Officials from department of explosives will be visiting us tomorrow and we will be able to know that for what places they had licences,” said Virk. A forensic department team also visited the site on Wednesday and collected samples of explosives from the site. Meanwhile, four out five victims were cremated on Wednesday. All the deceased belonged to village Dhandoli Kalan. They were employees of the factory and had come last night for loading crackers to be shipped for delivery. The dead were identified as Gursewak Singh (19), Karamjit Singh(18), Gurpiar Singh (25), Bhupinder Singh (21) and Gursharan Singh (24).

Out the five, Gursharan’s body was yet to be cremated as it was pulled out of the debris late last night. The body, found in mutilated condition, was yet to be handed over to the family after postmortem. All the deceased belonged to poor families. Amritpal Singh, son of village sarpanch Ajaib Singh, said,”They used to regularly go to this factory. The entire village is in deep shock after hearing this news as all five are from our village.”

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Apart from the five dead, Avtar Singh of village Tranji Khera was seriously injured. He too was an employee of cracker factory.

Four others injured were those who lived in a house that shared a common wall with the cracker factory. The four were identified as Karamjit Singh, his wife Gurmeet Kaur and two minor sons — Arshdeep Singh and Gurvinder Singh. They have been admitted to the local civil hospital, told Dr Kiran Bali, Civil Surgeon, Sangrur.

“All of them are stable and have sustained minor injuries. Avtar Singh suffered deep burns and hence we referred him to Rajindra Medical College, Patiala,” she said. “It was our sheer luck that we survived,” said Karamjit Singh. The family, however, said that they had constructed their house much before, but had only shifted recently. The cracker factory came up after the construction of their house, they claimed.

Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered an investigation into Tuesday’s firecracker explosion in a godown, while announcing Rs 1 lakh each as compensation to the families of those killed in the incident.

Expressing grief at the death of five people and those injured, the Chief Minister on Wednesday directed the district administration to ascertain the cause of the tragic incident and take remedial measure in future to prevent its recurrence.