The district authorities in Kollam had denied permission for any fireworks display at the Puttingal temple in Kerala where a fire tragedy on Sunday left 102 people dead.
The tragedy occurred around 3.30 a.m. when a spark from an exploding cracker fell on a building that stored a huge quantity of crackers.
Kollam District Collector A. Shinemol had clearly indicated to the temple authorities that there will be no permission for the firecracker display.
The collector reached the accident site soon after the episode and later called a meeting of officials to assess the situation.
Shainamol said “no permission for any kind of fireworks” was given.
She said the temple authorities had asked for permission to conduct competitive fireworks which was denied. For normal fireworks, no permission was sought and hence there was no question of granting it, the DC said.
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, who termed the incident as “heart-rending” and “shocking”, announced Rs two lakh each as compensation for the next of the kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 each for the injured.
He rushed to Kerala to take stock of the situation, carrying along with him a team of burn specialist doctors
CPI-M leader Kodiyeri Balakrishnan has blamed the government for not taking adequate safety preparations.
Addressing reporters, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said all the expenses of the injured would be borne by the government.
“There was no permission for this fireworks display. The cabinet will meet at 1 p.m and decide on all issues related to this,” he said.
A massive effort was launched to rescue the people from the inferno and shift the injured people to hospitals, with the Navy and the Air Force pressing into service six helicopters and one Dornier aircraft.