The toll in the explosion has now climbed to 17 from 11, after six injured died at a hospital in Kakinada town. The dead comprise 14 women and three men, East Godavari SP M Ravi Prakash said.

The victims of the private cracker unit, located at Vakatippa village in Uppada Kothapalli mandal near the district headquarters town of Kakinada, were working when the blast took place last afternoon.

Initially, the police had said that there were 18 workers working in the unit at the time of explosion.

Later, Andhra Pradesh deputy chief minister N Chinnarajappa said that 30 persons were present at the site when the explosion occurred.

The manufacturing unit where the explosion occurred had applied for renewal of its license, he said.

The explosion had left 9 workers dead on the spot while two others died yesterday while undergoing treatment at a hospital.

As per preliminary reports, the explosion was a result of a chemical reaction during the cracker manufacturing process.

District Collector Neetu Prasad has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the explosion while the state
government had said that steps are being initiated to shut down those fire cracker manufacturing units which are operating illegally.

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