The Visakhapatnam Police are keeping a close eye in rural areas of the district to check the operations of illegal firecracker manufacturing units, as Deepavali is round the corner.
The district police are leaving no stone unturned to weed out the illegal units and are conducting regular checks in the rural areas of Anakapalle, Narsipatnam, Devarapalle, and Yelamanchali apart from Payakaraopeta and S. Rayavaram mandals which are close to the border area of East Godavari district.
Four persons were killed in a blast at an illegal firecracker manufacturing unit at Gullipalle village in Sabbavaram mandal of Visakhapatnam district in March. Police learnt that the manufacturing units licence had expired in 2013.
In 2016, eight workers including four women were killed in a cracker factory blast at Gokulapadu in S. Rayavaram mandal. In 2015, five workers were killed at an illegal cracker unit at A. Kothapalli village in Devarapalli mandal.
"We have been keeping a watch over the illegal firecracker manufacturing units in the rural areas of the district since the last few months. We have bound over several persons who were involved in firecracker manufacturing in the past," said Visakhapatnam Rural SP Attada Babujee.
Police sources said that the illegal firecracker units do not just operate during the festival season but work throughout the year in order to deliver the orders that they receive.
According to a senior police officer, the units receive bulk orders for weddings throughout the year. Many unauthorised units in Anakapalle and Payakaraopeta region did good business during the election period, he said.
"They do not need massive shelters. These units are run out of small sheds, thatched houses and isolated places in villages, so that they can make a hasty exit in case of a police raid," the police officer said.