The administration and police of all districts in the state are supposed to be on their toes after the Petlawad blast, but the Piparawa village incident which claimed two lives, has put a question mark on the steps taken by the Neemuch administration in checking illegal storage of explosives.
Police have confirmed that explosive were responsible for the blast in Piparawa village and have also recovered detonator and triggering device from the spot, and now investigation team trying to ascertain sources of explosive devices.
Sources said that the thriving mining activities, and low water table in the area that requires blasting to reach to the water table, are the two main reasons for thriving illegal trade in explosives. The low water table is due to the water-intensive opium crop which is grown extensively in Mandsaur and Neemuch.
Farmers who were involved in opium farming said that groundwater level in this part of the state is fallen beyond 1000 feet and that's why government declared the block as "dark zone".
If anybody wants to dig tubewell in their farm, they need to take permission from the district administration. In case there is no permission, farmers need to dig a well to fulfil their water requirement. To dig wells they need large quantity of explosive to break hard rock which just below 15 to 20 feet from ground.
The Consortium for Combusting Disaster Management Research and Development (CDMRD), a Government of India registered institution raised the matter of thriving illegal explosive business in the northern-western Madhya Pradesh before authorities recently, but no action was taken.
When contacted CDMRD managing director Prabhat Bhatt said that they had raised matter about illegal business of explosive several instance, but no action has been taken on our complaint.
"Most of the magazine (explosive godowns) licenses are owned by politicians or their aides and government hardly acts against them. If this is not enough, few of them even took licence on the name of dead people to escape government action in case some untoward incident happens. They use to sell explosive like grocery and involved in a black marketing on the name of some fake buyers," Bhatt said.
Bhatt added that local authorities usually did not have complete information about magazines in their area as people who involved in digging and mining work required large quantity of explosive and many a times lack of knowledge about explosives and its intensity leads to Piparawa village like incident.
When contacted superintendent of police Tarun Nayar to get his reaction on the issue said police will left no stone unturned to keep tab on illegal business of explosives in the district.
"Not only informers, but police also honour those who inform us about illegal business in the town". "Police will investigate all the explosive magazines in the area as well as we will check records of those who use these explosives for their business purpose," Nayar added.
When contacted district collector Nandkumaram on the issue said, "We need to crack the whole network as two persons who died in blast today at Piparawa village are end users. In most of the cases, explosives are transported in a small consignments and it is very tough to trace them. We need to find out supplier to keep tab on illegal business in the town".
"After Petlawad incident, administration launched a massive campaign in the district and raided three places and administration will continue its magazine verification campaign. Teams will verify stock, safety arrangements at magazine and how godown owners preserve this stock. Administration will take stern action if anyone found guilty of selling gelatine or other explosive material illegally."