The lack of safety measures and the violation of guidelines meant to be adhered to are said to have caused the blast at an explosive storage magazine near Chakenahalli in Holenarsipur taluk, leaving one dead and two seriously injured, on Sunday afternoon.
Two bikes parked close to the magazine, in violation of the guidelines, were burnt and the truck from Tamil Nadu, which brought the explosives, also suffered damage in the incident. Sampath, 27, a native of Bettadahalli in Channarayapatna taluk, died on the spot while Ravi Kumar and Nataraj are undergoing treatment.
C.H. Nagesh of Chakenahalli had a licence to store gelatin and detonators in his private place. The firm had placed an order for explosives with Vetrivel Explosives of Tamil Nadu. A truck carrying the explosives reached the place around 2.15 p.m. on Sunday.
Superintendent of Police R. Srinivasa Gowda said that five people including Ravi Kumar, the caretaker of the magazine, were at the spot. “As per the preliminary inquiry, we learnt that the blast happened while they were handling the explosives. Among the five people at the spot, the truck driver and Bharat, a local worker, were not hurt, while the three others suffered injuries and one of them died”, he said.
As per the guidelines, the SP said, vehicles, cellphones or any electronic gadget should not be allowed within a 15-metre radius of the magazine. “It is clear that two bikes were parked close to the building where explosives were stored. There are mobile phones at the blast site. A portion of the truck also suffered a dent. Soon after the incident, the driver took the truck far away. We traced the truck and it has been kept in a safe place”, the SP said.
Holenarsipur police have booked a case against Nagesh, who holds the licence to store explosives, and Ravi Kumar, caretaker of the storeroom. “We have sent a team to trace and arrest Nagesh. Ravi Kumar, the second accused, suffered injuries in the incident”, the SP said. The bomb disposal squad and FSL team have reached the spot. Controller of Explosives from Mangaluru is expected to reach the blast site soon.
Minister visits spot
Minister for Excise K. Gopalaiah, who is also in charge of Hassan district, visited the spot along with senior officers on Monday. He told mediapersons the government would bear the medical expenses of the injured. “I have instructed the officers to submit a report on the incident within two or three days. Whoever is responsible for the blast will face the law”, he said.
Holenarsipur MLA H.D. Revanna, who accompanied the Minister, said the government should take action against those responsible and provide compensation of ₹5 lakh for the family of the deceased.