Locals outside an illegal firecracker unit after a massive explosion, in West Bengal’s Purba Medinipur district on May 16, 2023. (Image: PTI/File)
A petition was filed by Suvendu Adhikari seeking the involvement of the NIA. During the hearing, the judge himself expressed astonishment at the magnitude of this incident and stated that the CID should investigate whether the Explosive Act can be added or not
The politics surrounding the Egra blast are still ongoing, as questions are being raised by the opposition regarding why the police did not include the Explosive Act and Explosive Substance Act in the FIR.
On the other hand, the state government has sent an alert to senior police officers, urging them to be strict when dealing with such cracker factories, and has provided a new set of guidelines for handling illegal cracker factories.
According to the guidelines, in light of the explosion incident in Egra, all Commissioners of Police (CPs) and Superintendents of Police (SPs) should take immediate and strong action against all illegal cracker factories.
Firstly, the guidelines state that strict action should be taken against those involved in illegal firecracker manufacturing.
Secondly, all such units must be raided, and illegal materials should be seized.
Any illegal firecrackers seized must be disposed of following the standard procedure to ensure the safety of all, after obtaining due permission from the court. If necessary, small quantities should be disposed of at a time.
People who are caught once should not be allowed to engage in such activities again. Therefore, it is important for Officer-in-Charge (OC) in each thana (police station) to monitor the situation.
The guidelines also suggest that people who are poor and have taken up this profession of working in illegal factories should be rehabilitated.
An awareness campaign should be initiated to explain the harmful effects of such hazardous jobs to the people.
A set of six guidelines has been provided to all senior police officers. Raids have already begun in various districts since Wednesday, resulting in the recovery of a considerable amount of cracker-making ingredients.
On the political front, the inclusion of the Explosive Act has become a new point of debate between the opposition and the government. The initial FIR filed after the blast did not include the section on the Explosive Act. The opposition has started questioning why the police did not include this section when such a significant explosion occurred. Dilip Ghosh, Vice President of the BJP, said, “The police have included sections that are used in local fights. What is the reason behind not including the Explosive Act? Was it done to avoid involving the NIA?”
A petition was filed by Suvendu Adhikari seeking the involvement of the NIA. During the hearing, the judge himself expressed astonishment at the magnitude of this incident and stated that the CID should investigate whether the Explosive Act can be added or not.
TMC Minister Shashi Panja stated, “The police are conducting the investigation, and I am not an explosive expert. They will determine which section to include. Our focus now is on standing by the people. They have not been able to find work for 100 days, which is why they are in this illegal factory.”