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Crackers in ambulance at Calcutta

Calcutta police have seized 10,693Kg of banned crackers while last year, the seizure figure was 7268kg
Cracker stalls at Bazi Bazar on the maidan on Saturday

Our Special Correspondent   |   Calcutta   |   Published 26.10.19, 07:26 PM

An undertaker was caught smuggling 40kg of banned firecrackers into the city in an ambulance near the Avishikta crossing on the Bypass on Friday night, police said.

The undertaker, attached with SSKM Hospital, was headed for the hospital with the crackers cache from South 24-Parganas, the police said.Cops suspect the crackers were meant for use at the staff quarters on the hospital premises.Ambulances are not stopped at traffic signals or for checking given the sensitivity of the job, an officer said.This ambulance did not have any patient and officers checking vehicles at the crossing wanted to see if there was anything suspicious inside, the officer said.

The police have been conducting surprise checks on vehicles across the city to stop the smuggling of banned crackers into the city.At least 10,693kg of banned crackers have been seized till Saturday.Last year, 7,268kg of banned crackers were seized in the run-up to Diwali.

Although hospitals are no-honking zones throughout the year staff quarters on government hospital premises have always been known for bursting crackers. The most difficult thing is to catch people red-handed, the police said.

So, the stress is on catching people while they try to enter the city from adjoining districts.

“Initially the man accompanying the driver was reluctant to open the ambulance door, saying he was in a hurry. But his behaviour aroused suspicion and he was ordered to open the door,” an officer of Garfa police station said. “There was a heap of crackers on the floor of the ambulance.”

The man was identified as Ganesh Pandit, 32, a resident of Justice Dwarkanath Road in Bhowanipore, close to SSKM. The police have a list of 126 firecrackers whose entry to the city is officially banned, according to a government notification.

“If we stop anyone carrying crackers, we immediately check up with the list... if the brands match with the banned ones, they are immediately seized,” an officer in charge of a police station in the southeast division said.

Pandit could not substantiate the reason for carrying banned crackers, the police said. He has been booked under various sections of the Indian explosives act, along with Section 188 of the IPC (disobedience of an order duly promulgated by a public servant).


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