Harda Explosion: They Were Sitting On The Ticking Bomb

Harda Explosion: They Were Sitting On The Ticking Bomb

Homeless & Hopeless: Scores spend night on road staring at bleak future. The explosion and blaze gutted as many as 60 houses in the vicinity.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Thursday, February 08, 2024, 12:15 AM IST
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The tragedy was bound to happen and firecracker unit was running in a residential area, say residents

Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): Now an orphan, Neha Chandel spent a sleepless night on the road, along with numerous homeless people, gazing at a bleak future. The explosion and blaze at a firecrackers factory in Harda reduced their homes to ashes, transforming the once vibrant town into a war-ravaged landscape. The explosion and blaze gutted as many as 60 houses in the vicinity.

The tragic incident at the firecracker factory left 11 people dead and over 200 injured. Neha, who had lost her parents- Usha and Mukesh - in the incident, blamed the local administration saying that the tragedy was bound to happen and the firecracker unit was running in a residential area.

Talking to media persons a day after the tragic incident, the woman in choked voice held the government and the factory owner responsible for Tuesday's incident saying that the authorities should not have allowed running the factory in the populated area.

Like many others, Neha spent the night on a road as her house was engulfed in the fire. Similar, incident but not of such gravity, took place in the area but the authorities concerned did not pay any heed. "The expansion work of the factory and godown was underway. The tragedy was bound to happen sometime," she said.

Her uncle Ravi Chandel said "I was at work when the blast occurred. My family members were at home. I lost my elder brother and sister-in-law in the incident. My house has also burned into ashes". Aruna Rajput, a mother of five, lost her house in the incident and spent the night out on a road with her children. "I ran away after the first blast. Several people in my colony suffered injuries and are undergoing treatment. My entire house got damaged," she said while being unable to hold back her tears.

The woman said she came to the locality about 15 years back after getting married.

"There were small incidents earlier too but I became homeless this time. I spent the night on the road. I have nothing left and want government help," she said.

Rajput thanked god as her family was safe, but said she kept running after the incident, slept on the road at night and returned to the locality in the morning.

Amardas Saini, another local resident, was at his home when the first explosion took place at around 11 am.

"I was at home when the first blast took place. My wife was cooking food. We ran away amid the blasts, and gravels, concrete splinters and fireballs falling at us. Several motorcycles passing from the road were severely hit," he said. Saini said the body parts of many people were blown away during this incident.

There are about 40 houses in the vicinity of the factory, he said.

"We have been living in the locality for the past 25 years. We have given several applications (for removal of the factory) to the collector but no one heard our plea," Saini claimed.

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