Indranil Poddar, Sting Newz: While some thought it was terrorists’ attack, some thought it was earthquake. They thought so because while some experienced jerks on a doors and windows, some saw drums full of explosive (Barood) were ejecting to all sides in a shape of fire balls, as if, had been released from canons. Some of the burning drums hit the tile roofs and perched into rooms and burnt sleeping persons. Most were injured when the panicked persons came out of rooms following big sounds to know what had been happening. At that time the drums or its parts hit them.
This peculiar incident happened at Valuka village under Amdanga PS in North 24 Parganas early on Monday.
But truly it was an explosion at a cracker factory along the said village.
While 50 neighbours were injured ( basically burnt) still 14 are admitted in Kalyani JNM Hospital, said Maricha Gram Panchayat Pradhan Rajat Subhra De. He demanded that the fire and explosion took place following flaws in electrical lines in the factory . As Panchayat Pradhan he was on spot.
While one local Jhanti Pradhan (22) was referred to NRS Hospital due to his critical condition, a fire brigade personnel too was referred to a private hospital in Kolkata from Kalyani hospital following burn injury during explosion, De added. A fire tender too was damaged.
While most of the injured persons were taken to Haringhata Rural Hospital at Bara Jaguli, many of them were referred to Kalyani JNM Hospital.
Indira Fire Works was set up on 4 bighas of land at Madhya Valuka village in 2006. Ab Ova, there was a protest from locals but that went in vain. One Raju or Rajesh of Kanchrapara area is the owner of it, Pradhan said.
About 250 locals work here where about 150 are females. There are three big sheds and two of those caught fire. Not only that, the explosion was so powerful, that the walls and concrete were collapse down at a few places.
According to a local sources, the workers had worked upto 1 am. on Monday and the factory caught fire at around 2 .30 am. At beginning it was low fire. A fire tender was trying to control it. But at around 4 am. the huge explosion took place and left the firemen injured and damaged the fire engine. The most of villagers became aware after that explosion and rushed out.
Finally 15 fire tenders rushed spot and took about 12 hours to control the flames. The drums and bags of explosive were vomiting fire time to time.
Local Sunita Sarkar said,” We were in bed. Suddenly we heard the big sound. The doors and windows got jerked. Panel of glass windows broke down. After the big one, there was constant sounds like firing . We first thought it was terrorists’ attack.”
Another local Bandana Mondal said, ” We thought it was earthquake.”
The sounds were continuing. So the people came out of home. They found towering Infernos over the Indira cracker factory. While some were injured from the speedy ejecting explosive drums in shape of fire balls from the factory, some burnt when the drums perched the roof top made of earthen tiles and fall inside the rooms.
Krishna Samajpati, a 65 years old lady was sleeping in bed. A drum fall on her from earthen tiles roof. While she burnt seriously, the bed and others goods in that room too were burnt. ” It was just an instance”, local Anima Das said. Krishna was admitted.
Another injured Alpana Mondal said,” I went out for bathroom early in the morning and found huge fire at factory and sound of explosions . I found explosive drums to rush and knocked neighbours to flee from homes with children. At that time a fire – drum hit our tiles’ roof and a spark burnt me.” Her leg hand and back were burnt. She was released from Hospital after first aid.
” There was so much light with the first explosion that I was unable to see anything,” another local said. According to him , the height of fire was not less than 200 ft.
Sathi, daughter of Latika Mondal, a student of class nine got the burn injury at both legs from drum, her mother said.
Latika Mondal, Tina Biswas and many more experienced the flying of fire drums and expressed they were profoundly panicked.
A coconut tree which is about 60 feet away from factory, was bearing the relics of silver coloured explosive atop at the height of about 50 feet. Such spots were seen on many trees and ground at the area.
One Laxmi Kanta Mondal said,” the burning drums were spreed upto one Km. surrounding and hit many houses and trees.”
The residents of 5 km. away from the spot had heard the sound of explosion. Ratna Chakraborty of Bara Jaguli said,” I felt a jerk on doors and windows early in the morning and jumped out of bed. I though it was earthquake. But later came to know about the fire of Valuka village which is at a distance of about 5 km.”
Many of the locals demanded the removal of the factory from here and compensation to the effected persons simultaneously. Sukanta Mondal, a local student said,” It is fall out of Administrative apathy. However we demand to remove the factory from here. Side by side, the injured persons should be given the compensation and concerned persons should be punished.”
Jyotirmoy Dutta alies Tenu, the President, Amdanga Block TMC also demanded removal of the factory. He said, ” We will demand to remove the factory from here.