Temple fire: Kerala seeks Rs.117cr aid from Centre
The Kerala government said it sought Rs.117 crores from the Centre for rehabilitating victims who suffered in the April 10 Puttingal Devi Temple fire. The government decided to seek the aid after considering the report submitted by a three member state cabinet sub-committee. Officials said that the aid was "sought for rehabilitation of the injured, compensation for property loss and treatment of the injured."
The Puttingal Temple is a Hindu temple in the coastal town of Paravur, Kerala, India. The temple was founded after the "presence of a goddess" was felt over an anthill in its vicinity. During festivals in the temple, especially on the auspicious occasion of Bharani, firework shows take place along with other cultural events in celebration of the temple's goddess.
According to witnesses, a fire broke out in the Puttingal temple located in Kollam district, Kerala. According to reports, the fire could have been caused due to a blast in the firework stockpile, readied for the temple celebration. Reports suggest that despite warnings from the police, temple authorities went ahead with the fireworks display without reducing the quantum of fireworks.
At least 105 persons were killed and over 350 injured after a fire broke out at the Paravur Puttingal Devi temple near Kollam around 3:30 a.m. Many of the injured died before they could reach a hospital. The Prime Minister announced Rs.2 lakh each as compensation for the kin of those who died and also announced a compensation of Rs.50,000 to those injured.
"Fire at temple in Kollam is heart-rending and shocking beyond words. My thoughts are with families of the deceased and prayers with the injured." - Prime Minister Narendra Modi via Twitter.
The fireworks ceremony was held as part of the annual festival of the temple, near Kollam. Those injured were taken to the district hospital in Kollam, while several others were also taken to the hospital in the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College. Health Minister V S Sivakumar said the government will offer treatment to the injured free of cost in private hospitals as well.
Police have registered cases against the firework organisers as well as the temple administration. CM Oommen Chandy spoke to Home Minister Rajnath Singh and has sought assistance from the central government. The Indian Navy stated that INS Kabra and INS Kalpeni, with medical stores, will sail to Kollam shortly. One Dornier and two Dhruv ALH helicopters were pressed into service by the Air Force.
The death toll in the Kollam temple fire tragedy reached 106, while several of the 380 people who were injured are said to be in critical condition. The Travancore Devaswom Board has refused to ban fireworks displays. They stated that it is the duty of authorities to ensure safety. Meanwhile, Kerala Police have detained five people in connection with the fire incident.
Five absconding members of the managing committee of the Puttingal Devi temple, where a major fire broke out killing hundreds, surrendered to authorities. Temple Trust president, Jayalal, J Krishnankutty, Shivaprasad, Surendran Pillai and Ravindran Pillai surrendered to police near Paravoor. The Crime Branch registered a case under IPC Section 307 (attempt to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide) and the Explosives Substances Act.
The Kerala HC outlawed the practice of bursting high-decibel fireworks between sunset and sunrise after a firecrackers show at a Hindu temple in the state kindled a chain of blasts killing 110 people. The scale of the disaster prompted calls that pyrotechnic shows be prevented at crowded places and temples across the state. Fireworks will now need a license from a competent authority.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that a complete ban on firecrackers isn't practical as religious institutions use crackers for annual festivals. During a media briefing after the all-party meeting, Chandy said that fireworks should be allowed under strict control and close supervision. His government would request the Kerala HC to relax its order for Thrissur Pooram, the biggest temple festival in Kerala.