Jhabua blast: Were safety norms in place?

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Bhopal, Sept 14: Even as the Madhya Pradesh ATS commences its probe into the Jhabua blast which killed over 100 persons, a major concern about the stocking of explosives has arisen. It is a clear cut case of how safety norms are not followed and there is no terror angle to it, said an officer part of the probe.

However, there are lessons to be learnt from this incident and it goes on to show that safety norms were not followed while stocking the explosives.

Jhabua: Were safety norms in place?

The police have been able to zero in on the cause of the blast. The police say that the blast originated from the warehouse where the gelatine sticks were stored.

Easy access to explosives

The crux of the problem is that explosives are easily available in Madhya Pradesh. No concrete steps have been taken by the authorities to check the smuggling of explosives. These explosives are smuggled and used illegally in quarries for blasting activities.

However, in the Jhabua case, the gelatine sticks that were procured were licenced. Rajendra Kasawa who had stocked the explosives had a licence and was using the explosives for sinking wells and other construction related work.

However, what the police are ascertaining is whether the explosives were stored in a proper manner or not.

Smuggled from Rajasthan

In the past there have been several such instances where gelatine sticks have been smuggled and stocked illegally. Farmers purchase these sticks for blasting purpose if they want to make a road or use it in fishing activity. A gelatine stick can be purchased illegally for Rs 150.

Investigations that have been conducted in the past have revealed that the gelatine sticks which are manufactured in the government factory at Dholpur in Rajasthan are smuggled.

Smugglers have often waylaid lorries and stolen explosives.

Four years back an incident in which several lorries carrying explosives from Dholpur went missing off the highway and it was suspected to be the handiwork of these smugglers. In the year 2010, it was suspected that around 162 such lorries had gone missing.

The other tactics adopted by smugglers are bribing the drivers of these lorries which carry the explosives. It is a deep infested racket and explosives are stolen from every load that leaves the government factory at Dholpur.

The stolen explosives are then sold to miners in big numbers. Those who have obtained a licence to mine are given only a prescribed quantity of explosives by the government.

However when they want to mine more than the prescribed limit, they rely on smugglers for more explosives.

ATS probe

The Madhya Pradesh ATS has ruled out any terror angle to the Jhabua incident. The ATS will be checking if the required safety norms had been followed or not while stocking the explosives.

Further the ATS may also widen the ambit of its probe to check the extent of explosive smuggling that is on in the state.

The ATS had found in the past the explosives originating from Rajasthan make its way into Madhya Pradesh. Explosives are also supplied to Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, earlier probes had found.

The ATS which was probing the activities of SIMI had also found that some of its members had procured 200 gelatine sticks illegally.

OneIndia News

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