ILLEGAL FIRECRACKER units in densely populated localities may lead to loss of life and property. But the district administration seems to be apathetic to the danger.
The Bibipur incident, which claimed seven lives, was indicative of the fact that the city is teetering on a powder keg.
In view of Diwali and the local bodies’ elections, illegal cracker manufacturers stocked enough to cause extensive damage to the city, sources said. They added that these illegal factories were also involved in making crude bombs, that are in heavy demand for the elections.
Bibipur is not the only place in Kanpur, where these factories are running under protection of police and politicians. Deviganj, Ghaukhera, Jajmau, Naubasta, Rajeev Nagar, Tulsi Nagar, Hanspuram, Barra, Lal Colony, Juhi Safed Colony, Param Purwa, Begum Purwa, Gangaganj of Panki, Beconganj, Chamanganj, Bajariya, Colonelganj, and Roshannagar are the areas where illegal cracker manufacturers have stored explosives such as nitrate, gelatin, potassium, phosphorus, used to make crackers and crude bombs. Jamil Ahmed (name changed), owner of such a factory, told HT policemen took crackers, along with money, to turn a blind eye to the business. “Manufactures wish to obtain licences. But from the local police station to the office of the DM, there are so many points at which we have to pay bribes. Thus, it becomes quite impossible to run the unit legally,” said Ahmed. The Bibipur incident also exposed the failure of the police and intelligence agencies.
Deputy inspector general Diljeet Singh told HT, “Now, we will check all suspects and launch a search operation.”
Illegal stock of explosives at a stone’s throw from defence establishments and an air force base has raised a question mark on the efficiency of intelligence agencies who failed to locate sites where gunpowder was stored illegally.
As per security norms, residents of localities adjacent to defence establishments, airports and other sensitive setups cannot be permitted to carry on business activities relating to firearms or cracker making. Many wonder how the illegal manufacturers could take gunpowder to the colony despite several security checks around the air force base?