Puri Cracker Blast: One more succumb to burns, toll rises to 15

Puri: One more person succumbed to burns sustained in Chandan Yatra firecracker explosion incident in Odisha’s Puri, taking the toll to 15, the Health Department informed on Wednesday.

It further stated that 12 more injured are undergoing treatment in different hospitals. “The Collector, Puri, has already taken steps for payment of ex-gratia of Rs 4 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased persons,” it added.

Three persons had initially died while 30 were injured in the explosion in a firecracker stockpile during the religious event on May 29. The toll mounted to six on May 31 as 3 more injured succumbed to the burns while another three died on June 1. Four more succumbed to burns on June 1, taking the total to 13, while another died on June 4.

The deceased include an 18-month-old baby boy, a four-year-old girl, a six-year-old girl and a 12-year-old boy. The others are in the age group of 15-38 years.

The injured were initially admitted to Puri district headquarters hospital, but later shifted to the SCB Medical College in Cuttack and hospitals in Bhubaneswar for specialised treatment as their condition worsened. Doctors attending to the injured, including several minors, said some of them had sustained over 90% burns.

Meanwhile, police have arrested four persons – Prasant Nayak, Tuku Ranjan Swain, Budhia Bhoi and Jagannath Rout – in connection with the incident on the concluding day of the 21-day Chandan Yatra. Police claimed that Chandan Bhoi, a local, had procured the firecrackers from Nayak and Swain, both natives of Chari Chakka. While the duo had license to manufacture only fancy crackers, they were illegally manufacturing high-decibel crackers with the assistance of their two associates Bhoi and Rout.

Special relief commissioner (SRC) Satyabrata Sahu is expected to visit the special circuit house in Puri on June 5 and conduct an inquiry into the lapses which led to the fire mishap during the fireworks display.

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