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NEW DELHI: The death toll in a firework factory explosion in India has risen to 11 and the two owners have been arrested, police said Wednesday, a day after the devastating blast.

District police chief Sanjeev Kumar Kanchan confirmed 11 deaths, while more than 150 people were injured.

The fiery blast sent chunks of rock and metal flying far from the destroyed factory complex in Harda town, in India’s central Madhya Pradesh state.

“A whole concrete column landed in my property,” said Sargam Jain, who works around 100 metres (328 feet) from the factory site.

“There was a deafening noise and the earth shook,” said local resident Shanti Jaisani, a lawyer. “We thought a helicopter had crashed in our town.”

Fireworks are hugely popular in India, particularly during the Hindu festival of Diwali, as well as for use during wedding celebrations.

Eight dead, 80 injured in India firework factory explosion

Explosions often occur in firecracker workshops in the country.

In 2019, at least 18 people were killed in a firework factory explosion in Batala in Punjab state, and another 10 were killed in the same year in Bhadohi in Uttar Pradesh.

Many factories fail to stick to basic safety requirements.

State Chief Minister Mohan Yadav has ordered an investigation into the disaster.

“The guilty will be punished,” he said.

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