More than 100 people have been killed and over 300 injured on Sunday in a massive fire accident caused by fireworks explosion in a temple in Paravur in Kollam, Kerala.
Thousands of people had gathered at the Putingal temple precincts to witness the fireworks display. The mishap took place when sparks emanating from a fireworks display ignited a storeroom 'Kambapura' filled with crackers and pyrotechnic materials.
The high-intensity firecrackers exploded with a deafening noise at around 3.30 am. The police said the sound of exploitation could be heard over one kilometer radius.
The impact was such that the entire area plunged into darkness as the explosion cut off power supply and the temple premise looked like a war zone with people running helter skelter amid rubble and scattered body parts of the victims, said eyewitnesses.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy termed the Kollam temple fire as "unprecedented" and "alarming" and has cancelled all his poll-related programmes to oversee the relief operations in Kollam.
"Rescue operation at the mishap spot is over...The next main focus of the government is to provide best treatment to the injured,â€ he said.
"This is an unprecedented and alarming situation," he added.
"The condition of some of the injured is stated to very serious and the injured have been admitted to various hospitals in and around Kollam and in Thiruvananthapuram," he said, adding that the death toll is expected to go up as many injured are in critical condition in hospitals.
The Indian Army and Navy have been roped into to carry out the medical assistance to the victims. The victims with third-degree burn injuries are being airlifted by Indian Air Force to advanced hospitals in Trivandrum and Kochi.
The Cabinet Secretary has convened a meeting of National Disaster Management committee, which is attended by the MHA, the MoD, the NDRF. The meet will co-ordinate all the relief effort and streamline it between all government agencies.
About six air assets of MoD, four helicopters and 2 small fixed wing planes have been pressed into service for relief operations already and one NDRF team is on standby.
The Chief Minister said that the district collector of Kollam had not given permission to conduct the fireworks.
The instal reports suggested a clear violation of fire safety norms and prohibitory order.
Police sources said a case has been registered against temple authorities and explosive licencees under section 307 (Attempt to murder), and 308 (Attempt to commit culpable homicide) of IPC and under section 4 of Explosives Substances Act.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Rs two lakh each as compensation for the next of the kin of the dead in the mishap and Rs 50,000 each for the injured in the tragedy.
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