ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Murder by Negligence

Children routinely die in "accidents" in hazardous manufacturing units. When will we act?

On 10 April, a blast in one of the biggest firecracker factories in Parola, Jalgaon district, in north Maharashtra burnt to death 24 workers, including 10 women and six children. Predictably enough, the factory owned by the chief of the local municipal council, a Shiv Sainik, was illegal as its licence had been suspended nearly six months ago for violating safety measures. The enormity of the tragedy was lost in the din of the election campaign and the report of the magisterial inquiry ordered into the episode will most probably receive the same negligent treatment given to reports of inquiries into similar such horrific incidents in the past.

In February this year, seven girls between the ages of 15 and 17 died at Neknoor in Beed district of Maharashtra when the firecracker factory they were working in caught fire. That unit too was operating without being registered under the Factories Act. Reports of deaths of workers in illegal firecracker factories appear in the media regularly without denting either official or public apathy towards these “accidents”.

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