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Bengal Illegal firecracker units: Tussle between state govt, WBPCB intensifies

The issue of mushrooming illegal firecracker entities in West Bengal seems to be snowballing into a major tussle between the West Bengal Pollution Control (WBPCB) and the state government especially after the recent blast at a warehouse at Duttapukur in North 24 Parganas district which claimed nine lives.

Kolkata, Sep 2,2023:   The issue of mushrooming illegal firecracker entities in West Bengal seems to be snowballing into a major tussle between the West Bengal Pollution Control (WBPCB) and the state government especially after the recent blast at a warehouse at Duttapukur in North 24 Parganas district which claimed nine lives.Chief legal officer of WBPCB has filed a suit in the eastern region bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) accusing the state government of not taking any action against over 5,500 such illegal entities, including manufacturing factories and warehouses.In the petition, where the WBPCB has also accused the state government of violating the order of NGT time and again, the petitioner has claimed that because of the negligence on part of the state government, there had been period accidents at different illegal firecracker outlets in the state for the last few years.According to the WBPCB, currently there are only seven green-cracker manufacturing units in the state as per the official records of the state government.The board, on this point, has questioned why the state government so far is reluctant in pushing the setting up of more such green-cracker manufacturing units so that such blasts killing so many people could have been avoided.In the petition filed with NGT, the WBPCB official has elaborated statistics on the blast-related deaths since 2011.According to the statistics provided by the board as many as 86 persons have died in the blasts at different illegal firecracker units during the last 12 years.West Bengal had been in the national headlines for the last few months for the successive blasts in illegal firecracker utilities in different pockets of the state.On May 16 this year, as many as nine persons died in a similar blast at an illegal fire- cracker factory at Egra in East Midnapore district.The owner of the factory Bhanu Bag was among those killed in the blast.Again on May 21, there was a similar blast at Budge Budge in South 24 Parganas district. Though no one was killed in the blast, some were injured and the event revealed how the entire Budge Budge area had become a hub for illegal fire-cracker factories and warehouses.

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