The death toll in Kakinada Cracker Factory blast has been increased to 15 and most of them among the deceased are women. 13 women and 3 men were charred to death and seven others suffered serious burns in fire mishap at an illegal cracker factory at Vakathippa village of Kothapalli Mandal near 22 Kms from Kakinada.
Shockingly, four members of same family were burnt to death in this fire mishap. About 40 people were working in the cracker unit and most of them were daily-wage women who were paid as low as Rs 150 per day. Few reports claimed that owner of cracker unit Appa Rao was also among injured. We hear that Appa Rao had been running cracker unit for the past 20 years in village and he has applied for renewal of factory license in March but revenue officials have not given permission yet.
Although exact reasons for fire mishap are not yet known, two versions are doing the rounds. One version is that apparently a woman in the tiled crackers unit lit a stove to prepare tea and the blast followed immediately. The second version, somebody threw a lit cigarette resulting in the blast. More details are yet to be known.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh government swiftly swung into action. Collector and RDO were present at the blast spot and over-viewed helping measures. Ministers Chinnarajappa and Manikyala Rao rushed to spot. CM Chandra Babu Naidu announced a compensation of Rs 2 Lakh to the kin of dead and assured all sort of help to injured. Deputy CM Chinarajappa immediately ordered a magisterial inquiry into the matter and asked officials to shut down all “illegal” cracker factories.