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Firecracker factory where 15 people died; did not have license
However, the factory resumed operations in 2018–19, managing to get its stocking and sales license renewed until 2022.
Fifteen people were killed and 174 others were injured in a massive fire at a firecracker factory in Harda, Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday, as several explosions took place one after the other in the unlicensed factory.
According to the information, this factory was running for more than two decades without a valid license and without necessary safety precautions. Let us tell you that in the year 2017, the firecracker unit owners applied for license renewal under the Explosives Act, the then Harda District Collector came to know that the factory located on the outskirts of Harda city, about 150 km from the capital Bhopal, was making firecrackers without the necessary license. In the current permit, there was only permission for storage and sale of Chinese firecrackers and sparklers.
Despite this violation, the factory continued manufacturing firecrackers in 2017 until it was sealed. However, the factory resumed operations in 2018–19, managing to get its stocking and sales license renewed until 2022. In another explosion in the same factory three years ago, three female labourers from the same family had lost their lives.
In another incident in 2021, 3 people died. Rajesh Aggarwal, one of the factory owners, was arrested in this case, although he was later released on bail. Despite repeated accidents and safety concerns, the license of the factory was renewed in the year 2022, due to which the factory continued making firecrackers and this incident happened.
A person with political influence in the Agarwal family is the owner of a firecracker factory. He faced allegations of trying to influence the Harda district administration to reopen the factory in 2017-18. However, these efforts were foiled by the then District Collector, who gave priority to security rather than political influence. In case of another explosion in the factory
The owners, Rajesh Aggarwal and Somesh Aggarwal, along with another person Rafiq Khan, have been arrested.
After the explosion, black smoke spread in the entire area. The explosion was so strong that the windows of nearby houses and shops were broken. In a video that surfaced, high flames and thick smoke can be seen coming out of the factory. Due to the spread of smoke in nearby places, people started running here and there in fear. According to the information, dozens of houses around the factory were burnt in this incident. Eyewitnesses compared it to the earthquake that occurred in Harda. Apart from this, many vehicles also got caught in the fire caused by the explosion.