KOLKATA, May 23 (PTI): Police seized a huge quantity of explosives and banned firecrackers during raids in different locations in rural West Bengal and arrested at least 100 people for their alleged involvement in running illegal manufacturing factories, a senior state police official said on Tuesday.
A total 132 cases have been lodged by the police for the seizures, the official said.
The raids started on Monday and continued in the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday in different places mainly in Nadia, North and South 24 Parganas districts, he said.
“So far we have seized nearly 34,000 kg of explosives and banned firecrackers and arrested at least 100 people for allegedly storing them and running their businesses. These arrests were made during last night’s raids conducted at different districts mainly Nadia, South and North 24 Parganas,” the official said.
The police of the various districts have been asked by the authorities to file reports on seizures of explosives and firecrackers and arrests to the state secretariat by May 29, he said.
The raids were conducted in the backdrop of back-to-back incidents of blasts at illegal firecracker manufacturing units in rural Bengal within a span of eight days.
At least 17 people died in Bengal in three incidents of blasts and a devastating fire at a godown in the state.
The explosion at Egra in Purba Medinipur on May 16 claimed 12 lives, including that of the prime accused, while three members of a family succumbed in Budge Budge in South 24 Parganas on Monday and none in another blast at Dubrajpur in Birbhum district the same day. The fire at a carbide godown in Malda district on Tuesday killed two.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal government Tuesday decided to close down the ‘Bazi (firecrackers) bazar’ at Haral in Baruipur area of South 24 Parganas district, he said.
All the traders there have been asked to deposit all raw materials they have in their possession with the local police station as a precaution, the official said.
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee is slated to hold a meeting with traders from Haral at the state secretariat with the government deciding to set up clusters of firecracker manufacturing units.