TMC vs BJP over blast at an illegal firecracker factory in Duttapukur

Debjit Mukherjee, North 24 Parganas: Eight people were killed and several others injured after a massive blast at an illegal firecracker factory in Duttapukur, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, on Sunday morning. The explosion occurred at around 10 a.m. at the factory in Nilgunj’s Moshpole area, which is located just 3 kilometers away from West Bengal State University.

According to police, several people were working at the factory when the blast happened. The roof of the building was completely blown away, and the charred and dismembered bodies of the victims were found scattered on the ground.

The injured have been admitted to a nearby hospital. The entire area has been cordoned off by the police. The cause of the blast is still under investigation, but police suspect that it may have been caused by the illegal storage of firecrackers.

Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP alleged that the state has turned into a storehouse of powder kegs. “There is no monitoring of illegal activities by police. These crackers’ units are patronised by local TMC leaders,” he alleged.

The BJP also claimed that the factory was running smoothly with the support of local MLA and state Food Minister Rathin Ghosh.

Demanding a NIA probe, senior BJP leader Dilip Ghosh said, “Under the TMC rule, West Bengal has become a hub of bomb-making factory and terror activities and only a NIA probe can bring out the truth.”

BJP state spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said last year there has been at least six such blasts in illegal firecracker factories.

“Several people including kids have died in blasts in illegal firecracker factories. These factories were later found to be manufacturing crude bombs. This bomb-making industry is flourishing in Bengal because of the nexus of TMC, goons and police,” he said.

Reacting to BJP’s allegations, TMC leader Kunal Ghosh equated the BJP with a “vulture” and said it is a useless political outfit that pursues politics over bodies.

“The BJP should stop doing its vulture politics. They are like vultures – waiting for someone to die so that they can come and maul the carcass. They should stop jumping to conclusions and let police complete the probe,” Ghosh said.

Rubbishing the saffron party’s allegation, state Food Minister Rathin Ghosh alleged that the ISF is behind the illegal unit.

“I do not think the administration had any information about this illegal factory. I heard that an ISF activist from Murshidabad had rented a property here and was running the illegal unit. I wonder whether they were planning something big,” the minister said.

ISF MLA Naushad Siddiqui alleged that the owner of the factory is a member of the TMC and had full support to run the unit there. “The owner is a TMC man and he had full support to run this illegal factory,” Siddiqui said.

TMC Rajya Sabha MP Santanu Sen said that the state government has formed a SIT, which busted several such illegal fireworks units over the last few months. “If there are some units still functioning illegally, those will also be busted soon,” he said.

Sen said at times action against such firework units also invites the ire of locals as thousands of people depend on it for livelihood. “But we are firm in wiping out the menace of illegal fireworks.”

The chairman of the firecrackers’ makers’ association ‘Sara Bangla Atash Bazi Unnayan Samity’ Babla Roy said banned high-decibel ‘chocolate bombs’ were being manufactured at the illegal factory.