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Four killed as rice mill boiler explodes

Raigunj, May 24: Four workers died and four were seriously injured when the boiler of a rice mill in the Kaliagunj police station area of North Dinajpur district exploded this afternoon.

In a similar incident that took place yesterday in Malda’s Gajole police station area, four persons, including three teenagers, died when the boiler of an unauthorised rice mill burst.

Police said the owner of the rice mill, Nirmal Banerjee, is absconding. The mill was located barely half a kilometre from the Kaliagunj police station, close to a market area.

“We had stopped boiling the rice at 11 am when it started to pour. An hour later, when the rainfall ceased, we started once again. The boiler just exploded in a huge roar and I lost my senses,” said an injured Goli Roy, recovering from burns at the Raigunj hospital.

According to Amit Pal, the officer-in-charge of the police station, there could be more bodies under the debris of the completely-destroyed mill building.

“We have identified three of the dead as Bimal Roy, 25, Kalidas Roy, 26, and Arup Roy, 25. We feel that there could be more bodies under the debris and we are trying to clear the rubble as quickly as we can,” Pal said.

Several theories behind the mishap are gaining ground. While residents claim that the boiler exploded as the pressure of the steam in it exceeded due to clogged pipes, others like Joynarayan Somani, the general secretary of the North Dinajpur Chamber of Commerce, said the accident took place because the owner was running the mill with unskilled labour.

The Raigunj sub-divisional officer, Masir Alam, said that an inquiry was being conducted by the Kaliagunj block development officer.

A huge crowd stood around the demolished mill whose tin roof was ripped off and sent flying over 50 metres away. The body of Kalidas Roy was also flung into a field further away.

“The bodies were torn to shreds and we could barely identify them,” said Santosh Roy, the brother of one of the victims. He said that both his brothers, Bimal and Arup Roy, had no experience in handling boilers. “They used to work as helpers of a truck driver,” Santosh said.

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