Kerala fire: Wells near Puttingal Temple may have chemicals, human body parts; locals asked to stay away

 People living near the Puttingal Devi temple in Puruvoor have been asked not to drink water from the wells in the area, as per a media report.

Kerala fire: Wells near Puttingal Temple may have chemicals, human body parts; locals asked to stay away
A man walks past damaged structures at the spot where a massive fire broke out during fireworks display at the Puttingal temple complex in Paravoor village, Kollam district, Kerala.

Kollam: People living near the Puttingal Devi temple in Puruvoor have been asked not to drink water from the wells in the area, as per a media report.

As per CNN IBN, the authorities fear that chemicals from firecrackers and human body parts of those who were killed in the devastating fire may have fallen into them.

The report also said that the health department officials are inspecting the wells for chemicals from firecrackers and body parts.

Meanwhile, the Kerala government today requested the Centre to immediately declare the temple tragedy that claimed 113 lives and left several injured as a national calamity.

"The Centre should take necessary steps to declare the tragedy as a national calamity without delay," Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after a cabinet meeting which reviewed steps taken so far in the aftermath of the April 10 tragedy.

The CM said the all-party meeting called tomorrow would try to arrive at a consensus on formulating a policy on bringing about restriction on fireworks.

Chandy said a section in society was not in favour of stopping traditional practices and rituals based on faith. However, another group felt 'this kind' of calamity should not happen in future, he said, adding government has to find a solution, taking into consideration the views of both.

The CM said DNA tests to identify bodies still in hospitals has begun and would be completed soon.

A total of 13 bodies are still to be identified.

Chandy said police had received complaints that 21 persons were missing after the tragedy in the area and quoted experts as having stated that there was a possibility that the entire body of a person would have been charred, making even DNA testing difficult.

Government's priority now was to provide the best possible treatment to the injured being treated in hospitals, he said.

Asked about the delay in fixing responsibility for the mishap, he said a case has been registered and probe is on. "It is not fair on my part to make a comment as the probe is on."

However, Chandy made it clear that any person found guilty for the mishap would be brought before justice.

The CM declined to comment on Kollam District Collector's report that District police had failed to prevent the fireworks display, despite a ban issued by the authorities

(With PTI inputs)

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