West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday apologised to the people of Egra area in Purba Medinipur district of the state for a blast at an illegal firecracker factory, in which 12 people were killed and many injured.
The Trinamool Congress supremo, who reached Khadikul village in this area, 11 days after the blast, also said the incident could have been averted if the state had received proper intelligence inputs.
“I will bow my head down to you and apologise for the incident (blast at the illegal fire factory on May 16)… Had intelligence worked properly then this blast could have been averted,” Banerjee said after distributing compensation cheques to relatives of those killed and injured in the blast.
She also handed over appointment letters for jobs as home guards to one member each from the family of those killed in the May 16 blast.
Stating that two members from the family which owned the illegal factory, have been arrested, Banerjee urged the villagers to keep the local police informed in case they find any other illegal fireworks units operational.
The Bengal CM was accompanied by state chief secretary H K Dwivedi.
The Trinamool Congress supremo’s visit to Egra assumes significance as three back-to-back explosions linked to illegal firecracker factories have taken place this month, ahead of panchayat elections. The dates for the village body elections, however, are yet to be announced.
After the blast at Egra occurred on May 16, three members of a family were killed in an explosion at an illegal firecracker unit in South 24 Parganas district’s Budge Budge on May 21.
The Calcutta High court had last week refused to hand over the blast case to the NIA as sought by the leader of the opposition and had asked state CID to continue with the probe.