An unintended firecracker burst with potentially serious repercussions for workers engaged under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme was averted but for the accidental discovery of seemingly abandoned 49 high power firecrackers in a sack from the Periyar Valley Canal at Chunagumveli near Aluva on Friday.
The Edathala police rushed to the spot, and aided by the Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad, confirmed them to be firecrackers of the variant usually used to crank up decibel levels to add colour to festivals in places of worship. The workers engaged in cleaning the canal that had been dry for over a month had found the sackful of firecrackers.
“There were 49 of them and they were live in the sense that they were filled with gun powder. If someone had lit them accidentally, they could have exploded not discounting the dampness caused by having remained in water for a while,” said Edathala police sources.
Discovered by workers
In fact, it is learned that the workers actually discovered them in the canal on Wednesday evening but chose to leave them unattended for the time being since they were about to wrap up the work for the day. They had no work on Thursday owing to the local body poll and returned only on Friday.
The sack was shifted from the canal to the ground and a few firecrackers, round in shape and with an extended fuse, tumbled out accidentally, triggering speculation of bomb bringing many onlookers in its wake.
Usually, waste removed from the canal are set fire without even checking the content, and had it happened in this case, firecrackers could have gone off, injuring the workers.
“It seems like they were abandoned, either in the canal or elsewhere only to be swept into the canal. Though they have been confirmed to be firecrackers, we will still have to hand them over to explosives department and get them defused by bursting them in some abandoned quarries,” said the police. A case has been registered invoking Section 102 (seizure of property which may be alleged or suspected to have been stolen, or which may be found under circumstances which create suspicion of the commission of any offence) of the CrPC.