Karnataka Blast: High-level probe ordered, officials differ on death count – What we know about Shivamogga explosion so far

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January 22, 2021 10:54 AM

Contradictory statements have been issued by authorities on the number of deaths in the Shivamogga blast with reports claiming at least 15 deaths.

Karnataka Blast latest updateKarnataka Blast: Police and officials inspect the site in Hunasodu village of Shivamogga district where an explosion occurred last night.

Late last night, a massive explosion occurred near the gravel and boulder crushing facility in Shivamogga district of Karnataka, shaking up the neighbouring regions of Chikkamagaluru and Davangere districts as well. According to reports, around 15 people were reported dead in the blast. However, police have refuted the claim saying that only two bodies have been recovered so far. The impact of the blast was so strong that window panes of many houses in the region were shattered while houses close to the blast site reportedly developed cracks. The sound of the blast took everyone by surprise and fear. The state government has mobilised the necessary resources to tackle the situation arising due to the incidence.

What led to the explosion?
It is believed that a truckload of explosives was brought to the site for mining. The truck was parked near the gravel and boulder crushing facility. Due to circumstances unknown as of now, a blast was triggered sending shockwaves to the neighbouring regions. Police are probing the reason why the explosives were brought to the site. A bomb squad has been called from Bengaluru to ascertain the exact reason for the blast.

What is the official stand?
Shivamogga District Collector said that as per preliminary information, the blast occurred at late night when there was no worker at the site. The police are trying to trace the people who brought the vehicles to the site. He confirmed the death of two people, which is way less than 15 as being reported by different sources. This stands in contradiction to the earlier statement issued by a police officer who had said that there has been a blast in a truck carrying gelatin and six labourers in the truck were found dead.

Probe Ordered
Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa has already ordered a high-level probe into the incident. The CM warned of strict action against the culprits. Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has also called for an in-depth investigation into the incidence so that similar tragedies can be avoided in the future,

Political leaders express grief
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa have expressed grief over the loss of lives.

“Pained by the loss of lives in Shivamogga. Condolences to the bereaved families. Praying that the injured recover soon. The State Government is providing all possible assistance to the affected,” said PM Modi.

Extending condolences to the bereaved families, Gandhi said, “The news of blast at stone mining quarry in Karnataka is tragic. Condolences to the families of the victims. Such incidents call for in-depth investigation so that similar tragedies can be avoided in the future.”

Karnataka CM tweeted, “I wish to express my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased. The wounded are being treated and I wish them all a speedy recovery. A high-level investigation has been ordered and strict action against the guilty will be ensured.”

Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah also called for impartial & strict enquiry. “Very pained to know about the death of labourers in Shivamogga, due to explosion of truck carrying gelatin. I urge @CMofKarnataka to initiate an impartial & strict enquiry about the incident, & punish the guilty. My deepest condolences to the family members of the victims.”

According to various reports, the quarry unit is said to be ‘SS Stone Crusher’. The area reportedly owned by ST Kulkarni spans over 21 acres. The licence for stone crushing at the site was issued in April 2019 and is valid till 2024.

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