Kerala temple tragedy , toll rises to 107, PM visits accident site, CM says fireworks display was illegal
- Fire accident claims more than 100 lives, death toll may increase
- Temple authorities ignored district collector’s order and went ahead with the celebration
- Prime minister Narendra Modi visits accident site
- Cases registered against the temple authorities
Kollam: Death toll in the Kerala temple fire accident rose to 107..About 300 seriously injured in a major fire broke out in Puttingal Devi temple in Kollam district of Kerala in the early hours on Sunday. The fire would have caused due to spark that led to fireworks stocked for the celebrations. Preliminary estimate says that there were more than thousands of people at the temple premises when fire broke out. According to eye witnesses the accident occurred during the final stages of the fireworks when a spark from a cracker landed in a building that had stored stockpiles of fire crackers. The fire completely destroyed temple roof. The police registered cases against the temple authorities and the contractors. Chief minister Oomen chandy said that the death toll may increase and the state government has requested the centre government to extend all possible help in this hour of crisis. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced Rs 2 lakhs each as compensation to the next of those killed. According to latest reports coming in one of the contractor is also killed in the accident.Kerala government has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakhs each for the next of those killed.
Prime minister Narendra Modi reached the accident site at Paravoor and discussed with the chief minister Oomen Chandy and Home minister Remesh Chennitha about the measures the state government took after the accident.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi is also visiting the accident site.
According the district administration, the collector had earlier denied permission for stocking the fire crackers. But temple authorities went ahead with the celebration.
Local media reports that delay in resuce operations increased the death toll. More than 45 people died on the spot. Four helicopters of the IAF are also used for shifting the injured to various hospitals. The injured had been shifted to various hospitals in Kollam and Thiruvanathapuram districts. Many injured are battling for life in various hospitals. According to doctors condition of about 10 people are highly critical
Earlier in the morning prime minister Naredra Modi spoke to chief minister Oomen Chandy and assured him all help from the centre. In a message prime minster termed the accident as heart rendering and shocking. Prime minster Modi has directed Health Minister J P Nadda to rush to Kerala. Modi is travelling to Kollam with a team burn specialists. Karnataka government has sent a team of doctors to Kollam.
Chief minister Oomen Chandy has said that the rescue operations at the accident site were over by 8 am and the challenge now is to provide best treatment to the injured. Chief minister has cancelled all his election rallies and is camping in Kollam. Helicopters are used to ferry injured to various hospital. The state chief secretary has wrote to election commission for necessary sanction to exclude treatment facilities from the election code of conduct. Kerala health minister V S Sivakumar said that the state government will give free treatment to all injured even if they are treated in private hospitals.
Puttingal Devi temple is known for its competitive fireworks held as part of the annual festival celebrations. According to local media reports the some residents living close to the area where the fireworks celebrations are held approached the district authorities against competitive fireworks. And on the basis of complaints district collector has denied permission citing safety norms. According to locals some have even expressed apprehensions against stocking huge stock piles of fireworks without adequate security measures. But there are reports that though the district authorities denied permission for fireworks, it has allowed the temple authorities to perform the fireworks as part of the rituals. But despite the restrictions the temple authorities went ahead with the competitive fireworks which led to accident
Fireworks started at about twelve in the night. According to reports appearing in the local media, the police has instructed the temple authorities to stop the fireworks at about 3 in the morning. Before the authorities could act on the instructions the accident took place. State home minister Remesh Chennithala has said that a judicial enquiry will ordered in to the accident.