The workers, mostly womenfolk who toil in the firecracker manufacturing units, are the most vulnerable to blasts in East Godavari district. Consider this. Nearly 40 workers died due to blasts in the manufacturing units since 2010.
The Samalkota-Vetapalem-Medapadu stretch in East Godavari district is home for 90 percent of firecracker manufacturing among the 65 units permitted by the State government.
The Medapadu blast, reported in the last week of September in a unit had taken the lives of six workers, leaving six more to survive with severe burns. "Six workers have died and six other workers have survived in the Medapadu blast," East Godavari Superintendent of Police Adnan Nayeem Asmi, confirmed to The Hindu.
For the record, in the past decade, there has never been a year without the loss of workers lives in blasts in the firecrackers manufacturing units in East Godavari. This has left the police and district authorities in a helpless state to prevent such tragedies.
The manufacturing units resort to increasing the production manifold to meet the Diwali season demand throwing caution to the wind. This has led to mishaps somewhere in the district ahead of the Diwali season.
According to police statistics, the death toll in the blasts reported in the firecrackers manufacturing units in the East Godavari district since 2010 are nearly 40: 10 in 2010, 18 in 2014 (Uppada-Kothapalli), three in 2018 and six in September 2019.
Till October this year, 65 licensed firecrackers manufacturing units are in operation legally, while 16 retail selling units are permitted to procure and sell in the district.
East Godavari District Fire Officer Ch. Ratna Babu told The Hindu: "Illegal manufacturing units have come up, intensifying production to cater to the demand this Diwali. We have seized three such illegal units this week alone during our raids. The raids on the illegal units have been intensified, apart from monitoring safety at the manufacturing units".