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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh orders crackdown on cracker units in congested areas

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh directed the chief secretary and the director general of police (DGP) to take steps to close such units immediately and also take precautionary measures to ensure such mishaps do not occur in future.

punjab Updated: Sep 07, 2019 15:55 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Batala
Batala firecracker unit blast claimed 23 lives and injured 20 persons.
Batala firecracker unit blast claimed 23 lives and injured 20 persons. (HT Photo)
         

Chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered a state-wide crackdown on firecracker manufacturing units being run from congested areas with an immediate effect.

Talking to mediapersons after meeting those injured in the Batala firecracker unit blast that claimed 23 lives and injured 20 persons, the CM directed the chief secretary and the director general of police (DGP) to take steps to close such units immediately and also take precautionary measures to ensure such mishaps do not occur in future.

He also met the families of those killed in the blast and assured them of complete support and adequate compensation.

Also read: Batala firecracker unit was running illegally since 2016: Police

“The government will not allow anyone to continue with such illegal activities in densely populated areas and put others’ lives and property at risk,” he added.

He directed the Gurdaspur deputy commissioner to complete damage assessment at the earliest and ensure the release of compensation to those affected.

In response to a question, Amarinder said he has already ordered a magisterial probe to ascertain the reasons behind the mishap. When pointed out that an inquiry report on a mishap in the same unit in January 2017 was still pending, the CM expressed surprise at the inordinate delay saying accountability of the officials concerned in the case will be fixed.

He said since the incident took place two months before he assumed charge as CM in March 2017, a separate inquiry will be initiated as the previous one has yet not been concluded in two-and-a-half years.

“The state government has already announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased, besides free treatment to the injured. The government will release compensation for the damage to properties immediately after receiving the report from the administration,” he said.

He, however, did not talk about meeting the demand of increasing the ex-gratia grant to the victims.

Punjab Congress president, Sunil Jakhar, state rural development and panchayats minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, cooperation minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa and social security, women and child development minister Aruna Chaudhary accompanied the CM among others.

First Published: Sep 07, 2019 01:07 IST