Firecracker related incidents: Govt senses ‘ulterior motive’

The state government is apprehending an “ulterior motive” behind the consecutive incidents at illegal cracker manufacturing units, including explosions

Firecracker related incidents: Govt senses ‘ulterior motive’

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The state government is apprehending an “ulterior motive” behind the consecutive incidents at illegal cracker manufacturing units, including explosions, which have claimed at least 16 lives in the past one week ahead of the rural elections.

Minister for women and child development and social welfare department Dr Shashi Panja, minister of state for finance (independent charge), health and family welfare, land and land reforms; refugee and rehabilitation departments, Chandrima Bhattacharya, today said investigations will reveal whether there were provocations and a conspiracy to “disturb the state.” Two persons died in a fire at a firecracker shop in Malda today.

“Bengal is closely connected to the borders of some states, and we have to keep an eye on whether there is an ulterior motive behind these incidents. The reason may be political or otherwise, but to disturb the state,” Dr Panja said at the last day of the 32-hourlong sit-in of the Trinamul Women Congress against the Centre at Mallaguri today.


Minister of state for North Bengal Development Department Sabina Yasmin and Lok Sabha MP Mala Roy were among others present at the protest site. The dharna ended at 6 pm.

“Everything is happening after the 2021 Assembly elections after one political party had faced defeat. There is always the possibility of a conspiracy, which you cannot rule out. Investigations have started and they will unearth the truth. Nobody will be spared if found guilty,” Dr Panja said. Her colleague, Ms Bhattacharya, has sensed a conspiracy.

“The explosions occurred at four-five places consecutively. Whether a conspiracy is being hatched or whether there were provocations ahead of the rural polls, investigations will bring out the truth. The apprehension is always there. People are also expressing their doubts,” she said.

An explosion at an illegal firecracker manufacturing unit at Khadikul in East Midnapore district had claimed 11 lives on 16 May. Three persons, including a minor, died when an explosion triggered a fire at an illegal firecracker godown at Budge Budge in South 24 Parganas district on 21 May.

Opposition parties have alleged that in the garb of manufacturing firecrackers, illegal bombs were being manufactured in villages.

Another explosion occurred at a residence of a Trinamul Congress worker at Dubrajpur in Birbhum district on 22 May.

“The state cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday set up a committee headed by chief secretary HK Dwivedi and comprising home, fire, urban development, panchayat, environment and micro, small and medium enterprises department secretaries to look into the possibilities of setting up clusters of green cracker units in the districts. The administration and the police are more vigilant and they are conducting regular raids,” Dr Panja said.

She also observed that people had to risk their lives working in the illegal firecracker unit to earn livelihood as they were denied wages under the 100 days’ rural job scheme whose funds in Bengal have been halted by the Centre.

“They are jumping for the National Investigation Agency (NIA). Their attitude is that the NIA investigation is only held in Bengal, but the agency is acting in other states too. The mandate of the NIA is that it will cooperate with the state police,” Dr Panja said.

In response to comments of the Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Suvendu Adhikari that the situation in West Bengal was “far worse” than the situation in Ukraine, and there was not much explosion happening in Ukraine as it was happening in Bengal, she said the intention of Mr Adhikari had been to malign the state and spread a smear campaign against the state.

“He has no love for Bengal. He is far from all, he has become insensitive.The way he is addressing the issues, he came down to personal attacks. His political views are not important to us, does not make any sense,” Dr Panja said.