Kollam temple fire: All-Party meeting to decide on curbs on fireworks

dc-Cover-u6d56t7u6n8so6i94s2vu2ol03-20160412100644.Medi People check out the damaged structures after a massive fire broke out during a fireworks display at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravoor village, Kollam

Faced with severe criticism from the High Court over the criminal lapse of law enforcing agencies in the horrendous fire tragedy at Puttingal temple, the government has decided to convene an all party meeting on Wednesday to evolve a consensus on the issue of banning fireworks.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after a high-level meeting here that the all party meet would examine whether such fireworks should be allowed to continue. “Many views have come up. The Kerala High Court has also taken up the matter. Under these circumstances we have decided to convene the all-party meeting,” he added.

The meeting will be held at 2 pm at the Chief Minister’s conference hall on April 14. It will discuss whether a total ban on fireworks is practical and what type of restrictions are required to avoid such horrendous incidents in future ?
Ahead of the all-party meeting, the Opposition stepped up its attack on the government holding it squarely responsible for the incident. Opposition leader V.S. Achuthanandan said the temple organising committee could not have defied the Collector without the intervention of Chief Minister or the home minister. This was the latest instance of the UDF government violating all norms to appease community organisations.

However, Mr Achuthanandan called for a consensus on stopping practises like fireworks and use of elephants during festivals. CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan demanded the resignation of home minister Ramesh Chennithala in view of the grave lapse on the part of the police.

Meanwhile, BJP state president Kummanam Rajashekharan opposed the move to enforce blanket ban on fireworks. “There is no need to ban fireworks. Such measures will not solve the problem. The government should instead study the reasons behind the incident and ensure that such lapses don’t take place,” he said. He alleged that certain sections were trying to take political advantage of the incident which is dangerous.

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