As many as 18 workers, most of them women, died after a fire broke out in a water purifying factory, SVS Aqua Technologies, in Pune's Mulshi taluka on Monday, June 8.
According to the officials, there were 37 workers in the factory when the fire broke out, at around 3.30 PM. 18 bodies were recovered and the others were safely evacuated, reported The Indian Express.
The teams of the Pune Metropolitan Region Development Authority (PMRDA) and Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) fire brigade reached the spot when they received information about the factory fire.
After a rigorous fire-fighting operation, the fire was extinguished at 6.30 PM. Pune District Collector Rajesh Deshmukh visited the spot and ordered a probe under the supervision of the sub-divisional magistrate.
He further said an investigation will be carried out to determine whether any violations of safety measures had taken place.
Abhinav Deshmukh, Superintendent of Police, said that the factory manufactures chlorine dioxide tablets used for water purifications.
After the tragedy, President Ram Nath Kovid and Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled with the families of the deceased.
PM Modi announced an ex-gratia of ₹2 lakh each from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund (PMNRF) and ₹50,000 to those who sustained injuries.
Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar also announced financial assistance of ₹5 lakh for the families of those who died in the fire accident.
However, this is not the first incident. In past one year, there have been two other major incidents where people died or sustained severe injuries after a fire broke out on the factory premises
The first incident happened at Neyveli Lignite Corporation (NLC) in Tamil Nadu's Cuddalore district, where eight employees sustained grievous injuries after the thermal plant exploded in May 2020.
In August 2020, a fire was broke at Telangana's Srisailam Power Plant where nine employees, including five engineers, died.
The incident took place when the engineers were carrying out the maintenance work on electric panels. Out of the nine people, five bodies were found in the escape tunnel.
This has raised questions on the decision of resuming operations at the factories.
Experts believe that factories should resume their activities in a staggered manner, following the safety protocol, to avoid any mishap.