Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday ordered an immediate state-wide crackdown on all illegal fire cracker manufacturing units operating from congested areas.
The Chief Minister directed the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police to take immediate steps for closure of such illegal units and also take precautionary measures to ensure that such unfortunate mishaps do no occur in future. Talking to the media after meeting some of the victims in the hospital and visiting the site of the Wednesday’s tragic blast, which claimed 23 lives and left 20 injured, Captain Amarinder said the government will not allow anyone to carry on such illegal activities in densely populated areas and thereby putting the lives and properties of the residents at risk.
The Chief Minister also met the families of those killed in the blast and assured them of complete support and adequate compensation for the losses suffered by them on account of damage to their properties and commercial establishments. He directed the Deputy Commissioner, Gurdaspur, to complete the damage assessment at the earliest and ensure the release of compensation to the affected persons soon.
In response to a question, Captain Amarinder said that he had already ordered a Magisterial probe to ascertain the reasons behind the mishap. When pointed out that an inquiry report of a similar mishap that happened in Jan 2017 was still pending, the Chief Minister expressed surprise at the inordinate delay in submission of the report and said that accountability of the concerned officials will be fixed. He said that since the incident had happened two months before he took over the government in March 2017, a separate enquiry will be initiated simultaneously, as the previous enquiry has yet not been concluded despite a gap of over two-and-a half years.
He said that the state had already announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs. 2 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased, besides free and best possible treatment to the injured in the hospitals. He also said that the state Government would release compensation for damaged properties immediately after receiving the report from the Deputy Commissioner.
Replying to a question regarding explosion in Tarn Taran district, where two persons were killed, the Chief Minister said that as per the preliminary information the blast had occurred when three persons were trying to make a bomb in a bottle by mixing of some chemicals in a makeshift pit. He said that the police in investigating the matter and all possible angles are bein probed.
Prominent amongst those who accompanied the Chief Minister included PPCC President, Sunil Jakhar, Rural Development and Panchayats Minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Cooperation Minister Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Social Security, Women and Child Development Minister Aruna Chaudhary, MLAs Fatehjang Singh Bajwa, Balwinder Singh Ladi, Raj Kumar Chabbewal, Chairman Punjab Health System Corporation Amardeep Singh Cheema, Chairman Punjab State Subordinate Selection Board Raman Bahl, Jalandhar Divisional Commissioner B Purushartha and Deputy Commissioner Vipul Ujjwal.