The Madhya Pradesh government has sealed all 12 firecracker factories in the Harda district for failing to comply with government regulations and standards. This decision was taken in the wake of a devastating blast at a firecracker factory in Harda on Tuesday, which resulted in 12 fatalities and approximately 170 injuries.
The sealed factories are located in various tehsils of the Harda district, including two in Gram Pipal Pani, Sirali tehsil, three in Gram Kunjargawan, Handia tehsil, four in Gram Bairagad, Harda tehsil, three in Gram Rahatakhurd, Harda tehsil, and others in Gram Dudhkachchh, Harda tehsil.
The explosion occurred at a firecracker factory in Bairagarh village, Harda district, situated 150 km from Bhopal. According to sources who spoke to India Today, the blast was so powerful that it engulfed around 50 houses in the vicinity of the factory.
Eyewitnesses reported numerous bodies at the scene, and several people were reported missing following the explosion and subsequent fire at the factory. Upon investigation, the police discovered that the quantity of explosives stored at the Harda factory exceeded the amount permitted by the license.
The factory owners, Somesh Agarwal and Rajesh Agarwal, were arrested on Tuesday evening and charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Rafiq Khan, alleged to be the factory manager where the blast occurred, was also detained for questioning.
The charges filed against the accused include sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with Section 3 of the Explosive Substances Act.
Chief Minister Mohan Yadav stated that the state government would not spare any guilty parties and promised strict action against them. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences for the lives lost in the tragic incident and announced an ex gratia payment of Rs 2 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to the injured.