Three years after the Puttingal temple fire in Paravur, Kerala, the Kollam district collector approved the chargesheet in the case. The incident, which took place on April 10, 2016, took the lives of 111 people. According to reports, the chargesheet was awaiting final approval as per the Explosives Act 1884, for the last two months.
Kollam district collector Karthikeyan told mediapersons that the delay was due to technical issues which needed clarification. The chargesheet will reportedly be handed over the prosecution on Wednesday.
On April 9, 2016, 111 people who were present at the Puttingal temple to witness the annual fireworks died after a fireworks explosion in the area. The temple had been denied permission by the authorities to use fireworks but they decided to continue the celebrations anyway.
Documents accessed by TNM in 2016 showed that the Kollam Additional District Magistrate had denied permission for the annual 'competitive fireworks', in which two temple priests try to outdo each other with fireworks. The decision to deny permission was taken based on reports by the Revenue department and the police.
The Tahsildar's report said that the temple could conduct the Vishu celebrations if it met 4 conditions: not using loud fireworks, ensuring crowds were minimal, adopting crowd control measures, and making sure that only stipulated amount of fireworks is used. Incidentally, the Kollam SP had then noted in a report that regardless of whether permission was issued for 12 kg of fireworks, there was a possibility that the temple could end up using much more that the stipulated amount.
The SP had also said that there was a high possibility of a fire tragedy.
The fireworks started at 11:50 PM on April 9 and at around 3:00 am on April 10, one of the bigger fireworks fell on the ground and led to 12 other similar fireworks stored in a concrete shed nearby catching fire. This led to a huge explosion and the collapse of the concrete shed worsened the tragedy.
The Kerala government promised to investigate the incident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also offered a compensation of Rs 2 lakh for the victims of the fire.