Visakhapatnam: Firecracker manufacturing units, licensed and unlicensed , have claimed the lives of over 45 workers in Andhra Pradesh in the past four years. Five persons died and seven others suffered injuries in a recent explosion at a licensed firecracker unit at G Medapadu under Samalkot mandal in East Godavari district.
CPI(M) leader K Lokanadham said owners of firecracker units in the state hire untrained workers at low wages. These untrained workers handle hazardous and inflammable chemicals that lead to mishaps and claim the lives of workers. Most of the units do not have fire safety practices, he said.
Assistant district fire officer, Vizag, Martin Luther King said the district has five licensed firecracker units. The units mostly produce fountain crackers, rockets and bombs for sale during Diwali and see a rise in demand in the festive season, he added.
“Our teams, with the support of the police , have been on the job to identify illegal firecracker units in Vizag region. We are also appealing to people to inform us if they come across any such illegal unit,” Martin Luther King added.
Sources pointed out that officials of the fire, police and revenue departments have failed to crack the whip on illegal firecracker units in East Godavari, Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Vizag districts, despite explosions in these units in the past.
In March 2019, five persons, including four from one family, died in an explosion at an illegal firecracker manufacturing unit at Gullipalle under Sabbavaram mandal in Vizag district.
A firecracker trader on condition of anonymity said that compared to Sivakasi firecrackers, the performance in terms of sound and display of crackers manufactured in local units is superior. Consumers who prefer a big celebration purchase crackers from these units, the trader added.
Meanwhile, wholesale dealers in the region are encouraging illegal firecracker units by procuring crackers at low prices and selling them at high prices during Diwali and other occasions. Enforcement officials should register cases against dealers for stocking illegal firecrackers, said Srinivas, an activist.