At least six persons have died in what is suspected to be a gelatin explosion at a quarry site in Chikkaballapur near Bengaluru on Tuesday morning. Health Minister and District-in-charge Minister Dr K Sudhakar visited the accident site. This tragedy comes just a month after a similar mishap was reported from Shivamogga district where six quarry labourers died in a quarry site due to an accidental explosion of a similar nature.
The blast occurred in a stone quarry unit situated in Hirenagavalli village. One person has reportedly sustained injuries.
Speaking to reporters, Dr Sudhakar said that the quarry was storing gelatin sticks illegally and in an irregular manner which led to Tuesday’s explosion and two persons have been arrested in the case.
"These are illegally held explosives. This will be dealt with law, strict action will be taken," he told reporters. An officer added that all those involved in this incident were not experts in handling explosives and this led to the accidental explosion.
PTI reported that quarrying was stopped by the police on February 7 following complaints from the locals against rampant use of gelatin sticks. Yet, it continued clandestinely following which another raid was carried out a few days ago and the contractor was warned not to use gelatin anymore.
The men working there went to dispose of the explosives in the wee hours of Tuesday when it went off accidentally.
Both the Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Prime MInister Narendra Modi offered condolences to the families of the victims and assured strict action.
“The death of six people near the village of Hirenagavalli in Chikkaballapur, which killed six people, is a shock. Information has been obtained from the District Ministers and senior officials, who have been instructed to conduct a thorough investigation and take stern action against the guilty,” CM BS Yediyurappa said.
He added, “I pray that god may grant peace to the souls of the dead and give their families the power to end this grief. A high-level investigation into the disaster is underway and strict action will be taken against the guilty.”
“Pained by the loss of lives due to a mishap at Chikkaballapur in Karnataka. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover quickly,” the Prime Minister’s office said.
In the Shivamogga disaster, a lorry carrying explosives inadvertently exploded killing all five on top of the vehicle. Following the incident, Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa had ordered a drive to check on illegal quarrying and mining setups in the state. He had also ordered that all illegal explosive usage be stopped immediately,