Kollam (Kerala): Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kerala on Sunday afternoon to proceed to Kollam where a fire tragedy in a temple left over 100 people dead. Modi was accompanied by a team of 15 medical professionals, officials said.
Over one hundred people are feared dead and more than 300 injured after firecrackers caused a massive fire at the Puttingal temple in the coastal town of Paravur located about 60 kms from the state capital, early on Sunday.
The gruesome incident occurred around 3:30 a.m. on Sunday.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy is set to visit the scene at 11am on Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday described the fire at Kerala temple that killed 86 people as 'heart-rending and shocking'.
Fire at temple in Kollam is heart-rending & shocking beyond words. My thoughts are with families of the deceased & prayers with the injured.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) April 10, 2016
The Prime Minister has also announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia to the families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 to those critically injured. He plans on visiting the affected area soon.
This is being touted as man-made mishap as the local authorities had banned the use of firecrackers. NewsX has access to documents which states that the Additional District Magistrate had issues warnings and banned the display of fireworks in the celebration.
Eyewitness said that the fireworks display started close to midnight and when nearing its close, a spark from a cracker landed in a building that had stored some high potency crackers and it caught fire causing a massive explosion.
"The normal practice is to store the high potency crackers in the building and from there it's taken to the place where their is light. A spark from a live cracker landed in the building that stored these massive crackers," Kunjumon, a local believer, said.
Following this, the building collapsed and that was the prime reason for the number of casualties to increase.
Those in the know of things revealed that generally there is firework display competition, but according to local legislator P.K. Gurudasan, there was no competition but it was just a firework display, generally associated with any temple festival and one is not clear if there was any sanction for this display.
(Also Read: Shaken by Kerala temple tragedy: Sachin)
State Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar said the injured were brought to the Thiruvananthapuram Medical College Hospital for immediate treatment.
"Numerous people are under treatment in hospitals at Kollam. The health department is fully geared to provide the necessary treatment," said Sivakumar.
The state government has launched a helpline number for the mishap, which is 04742512344.
(Also Read: Saddened by Kerala temple tragedy: Nitish Kumar)
Meanwhile, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala announced financial assistance to the dead and the injured.
The fire has been brought under control and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has called up Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and asked for an aerial probe.