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Kollam fire: Govt sends team to probe cracker storage

Government has rushed the Chief Controller of explosives safety organisation PESO to probe the use and storage of firecrackers at Puttingal Devi Temple complex in Kollam where 102 people have died and over 280 injured in a major fire.

“Instructed the Chief Controller of Explosives (PESO) to rush to the #KeralaTempleFire site to check on legal/illegal storage/ use of... firecrackers/explosives,” Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in a tweet.

Controller of explosives, Kochi has reached the spot and the controller from Chennai will also join in, she said in series of tweets, adding that officials of Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), DIPP will work closely with district authorities to establish facts.

The fire broke out in Puttingal Devi Temple complex during a display of fireworks for which there was no permission was given by the authorities, according to Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy.

The mishap occurred as sparks of the fireworks fell on the store room ‘Kambapura’ and the firecrackers kept there exploded with a deafening noise.

The Commerce and Industry Ministry added that as per the Supreme Court’s directive, fireworks should be used only up to 10 pm.

“The accident occurred during display of fireworks. Prima facie, from pictures seen on TV news channels, it was observed that large quantity of fireworks items were used for the public display,” the ministry said in a statement.

It is mandatory to obtain a licence in Form LE-6 under Explosives Rules 2008 from the District Magistrate for public display of fireworks.
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