Chandigarh: The Batala firecracker manufacturing unit, which killed 23 people in a a densely populated residential area, was running illegally and its licence to manufacture crackers has expired in 2013, revealed senior superintendent of police Upinderjit Singh Ghumman.
“We didn’t know about the (operation of the) factory. The licence of the factory has expired in 2013,” he said. “We can’t say anything. We can only say after the magisterial probe,” he added.
A total of 23 people were killed in the explosions. Rescuers ended their search of survivors a day after the buildings were badly damaged in explosions following a blaze at the unauthorised firecracker manufacturing unit on Wednesday.
Locals complained the firecracker unit was running illegally for the past many years. It was manufacturing and storing crackers for the wedding anniversary celebrations of Guru Nanak Dev.
“The firecracker factory has been working in this locality for many years. We have complained against the factory seven-eight times to the local administration, but no action has been taken against it,” a local resident told the media.
A large number of family members of victims raised slogans against the government over its failure to check the operation of unauthorized factory in the residential area.
Local legislator Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal blamed the administrative failure to check the operation of unauthorized factory.
“Still there are a large number of illegal firecrackers units working in the area,” he added.
Meanwhile, state president of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and parliamentarian Bhagwant Mann, has demanded a judicial probe into the incident.