Sivakasi (TN):  Seven persons were arrested on Thursday in connection with the massive fire at a cracker manufacturing unit near here that claimed 39 lives even as police are on the lookout for the owner of the factory which allegedly violated several safety norms.
Four persons who had taken the Omshakthi fireworks factory complex where the fire broke out on lease, its foreman and two others entrusted with managing the unit had been arrested, SP Najmal Hoda told reporters here.

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Ten teams had been formed to nab the factory owner Murugesan, who fled the spot after the devastating fire on Wednesday.

"It is absolutely illegal.. what he has done (giving the factory on lease), is absolutely wrong," the SP said, adding, cases had been registered against the lease holders and owner under various sections of IPC and Explosives Act.
According to the SP, the factory had committed several violations such as safety norms, overcrowding, overstocking and wrong mixing of chemicals.


                                 Sivakasi Fire Tragedy

  • Sivakasi is capital of India’s firecracker industry with about 8,000 factories, big and small, producing 90 percent of the total fireworks output
  • Incident took place at Omshakti Fireworks
  • Devastating fire took at a cracker manufacturing unit at Mudhalipatti near Sivakasi, and the death toll mounted to 39
  • Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa on 5th September condoled the deaths in Sivakasi fire tragedy and announced ex-gratia of Rs two lakh each to next of kin
  • Prime Minister also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.two lakh and Rs.50,000 to those seriously injured in the fire
  • In-depth analysis reveal that a total of 237 lives have been lost due to accidents in 88 fireworks units located in Sivakasi over 12 years
  • Even Parliament House expresses its profound sorrow on this tragedy which has brought immense pain and sufferings

Initial examination by forensic experts revealed that mixing of chemical had been done in "unscientific proportions". Besides, rubber sheets had not been provided at the sheds where the crackers were manufactured.
The area around the factory, spread over five acres, had been cordoned off as police feared that more unexploded crackers could burst due to extreme heat conditions.
Fire service personnel were constantly dousing the area, so that earth-movers could be used to clear the debris.

Chief Minister announces ex-gratia

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa announced a compensation of Rs two lakh each to next of kin of the deceased and deputed a team of five ministers to oversee relief work.

In October 2009, 32 people, most of them Deepavali shoppers, were killed at a cracker godown fire in Pallipattu in Tiruvallur district.

Senior minister O Panneerselvam and four other colleagues rushed to the spot to oversee relief operations.

Sivakasi is home to roughly around 450 factories employing 40,000 people and over one lakh indirectly, at an estimated annual turnover of between Rs 800 and Rs 1000 crore.


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