Chandigarh: At least 23 people were killed and 27 injured, many of them seriously, after an explosion at a firecracker factory in Punjab's Gurdaspur district on Wednesday.
The death toll is expected to rise since many more labourers are buried under the debris of the building located in a residential area called Valmiki Ashram near Hansli naala on Jalandhar road in Batala.
The blasts occurred a day ahead of the 532nd birth anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev. Festivities are held in the city every year and this time too they were on in full swing when residents heard two loud blasts and a series of low-decibel level ones.
Inspector General (Border Range) S.P.S. Parmar said that the blast occurred around 4 pm at the factory. The massive explosion turned nearby buildings into rubble. Several cars parked nearby were also damaged in the blast.
Residents in the neighbourhood have in the past complained that the factory is illegal, but claim that the bauthorities have failed to take any action.
Several demands were also made that the factory should be closed down.
Meanwhile, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident. ADC (Batala) has been asked to conduct the inquiry into the tragic incident....