Toll in Tamil Nadu firecracker unit blast rises to seven

The blast was triggered when explosive ingredients were handled by workers for the manufacturing process at the factory on Friday

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PTI

The toll in the blast at a fireworks factory in Madurai mounted to seven on Saturday with two more women workers succumbing to injuries and the manager of the manufacturing facility has been arrested, police said.

All the seven victims were women.

The blast was triggered when explosive ingredients were handled by workers for the manufacturing process at the factory on Friday.

Five workers were charred to death and over five others sustained injuries.

Two women, who fought severe burn injuries, meanwhile, died without responding to treatment at a hospital here, police said, adding the manager of the private unit was arrested.

A probe was on into the blast and efforts are on to arrest the owner of the firm who has gone absconding, police deputy superintendent, (Peraiyur), Mathiazhagan said.

An office-bearer of a Sivakasi based association of firecracker unit workers, Karmegam Pandian, alleged that several units functioned without proper licence and did not follow mandated safety measures to avoid mishaps.

He urged the government to close down such units.

"There is sufficient employment opportunities in well established factories with proper licence and they adhere to safety norms that are stipulated.

Workers should seek jobs only in such units," he said.

Chief Minister K Palaniswami condoled the deaths and announced an ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased.

He also announced Rs one lakh to those who had sustained grievous injuries.

Condoling the deaths, DMK president M K Stalin demanded that the government ensure safety measures in fireworks factories ahead of Diwali festival.

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