No lessons learnt from past
By H Sheik Mydheen|ENS - MADURAI
08th September 2012 08:15 AM
A memorial pillar, with portraits and names of eight officials killed during an explosion which occurred during an inspection of a firecracker unit in Sivakasi in 2010, stood as testimony to the fact that no lessons have been learnt from history.
Wednesday’s tragedy at Om Sakthi Fireworks in Mudhalipatti, which snuffed out 38 lives, has reaffirmed this unfortunate reality.
Officials pointed out that even after the 2010 incident at Kananjampatti in Sivakasi taluk, till date, there were no special teams with the expertise required to inspect, regulate or control the firecracker industry in the Sivakasi region. This has been a long-pending demand, according to deputy tahsildar Muthukrishnan.
On August 10, 2010, a team comprising tahsildar Mariappan, deputy tahsildar R Kumarasamy, deputy collector Kombiyan, revenue inspectors A Chandrasekaran, K Rajeshkannan, M Rajmohan, police inspector Abdul lathif, SI Ramesh and constables Ganesan and Aasaikani, went to a small firecracker manufacturing unit at Kananjampatti for a surprise inspection. A staff of the Sattur taluk office recalled, “The unit owners were hiding the Manimarundhu, a chemical used in fancy crackers, in a motor shed located near their house. The officials chanced upon this.” “As they did not know what chemicals were stored in the room, they struck a match stick to see clearly, triggering an explosion. All the officials, except tahsildar Mariappan and deputy collector Kombiyan, suffered injuries and subsequently succumbed,” the staff told Express.
Ever since, the revenue officials have apparently been urging higher officials to form a special team with expertise in handling such materials to keep a tab on the firecracker industry in the region. Meanwhile, the officials, who have no specific training in handling such chemicals, now feared to inspect the firecracker units.
Muthukrishnan said, “The officials are scared to inspect the fireworks factories as lives have been lost in the past.”
Virudhunagar police have also been demanding that personnel tasked with conducting raids at these factories be made to undergo specific training.
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