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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Cracker factory blast toll two

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Batala, August 25, 2013
First Published: 21:52 IST(25/8/2013) | Last Updated: 21:53 IST(25/8/2013)

The death toll in the cracker factory blast has risen to two as the youth, Roshi who had sustained 85% burns when a fire broke out in a cracker factory near railway crossing on the Batala-Gurdaspur national highway, succumbed to injuries at Guru Nanak Dev hospital, Amritsar, on Sunday.

Roshi's mother Shanti Devi had died on Saturday evening. Roshi was cremated at Punder cremation ground after post mortem.

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It was the third blast at Kuldeep Singh's cracker factory during the last six years. Six years back, two members of Kuldeep Singh's family were killed while three other were seriously injured when a fire broke out in the factory. Two years back, in a similar blast at his factory he sustained serious injuries and died six months ago. Now his son, Roshi and wife, Shanti Devi, died while making crackers through old techniques.

Raising a question mark on the working of administration, Senior Citizen Forum president Harbans Singh alleged that in spite of three incidents of fire at a single factory, the administration did not hesitate to give licence at the cracker factory, which was operating from a residential locality.
He alleged that most crackers factories in Batala and surrounding areas still used old techniques for making crackers and even did not fulfil norms set up the administration but still they were give licence by the administration.

He alleged that though the administration had put a complete ban on stocking the crackers in the city limits, many crackers wholesalers had started stocking crackers in the thickly residential areas like Dera Road, Orhi Chowk, Ram Leela ground which might result into a big miss happening.

Batala SDM JS Grewal said from time to time, the administration conducts raids at various cracker factories in the area and ensure that all these factories fulfil safety norms. He added that from Tuesday, they were again going to check every single factory and will strict ensure appropriate safety norms.

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