NEW DELHI: An explosion at an illegal firecracker factory in eastern India killed seven workers and injured nine others in the hours before Thursday’s Diwali festival, officials said.
Firework use hits a peak across India during the Hindu festival but New Delhi authorities have tried to restrict sales to tackle mounting pollution. The explosion late Wednesday completely destroyed the makeshift structure after fire touched off the gunpowder and chemical stocks used to make the fireworks in Balasore district of Odisha state, said district magistrate Pramod Kumar Das.
He told AFP several of the injured workers are in a critical condition after the ‘huge’ explosion. Diwali, the festival of lights, is traditionally celebrated by lighting lamps but has metamorphosed into a grand show of fireworks, sparking pollution and controversy. Explosions often occur in the thousands of illegal backyard and underground workshops that spring up during the festive season.