CHENNAI: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has ordered immediate evaluation of existing fire-prevention and safety arrangements in senior-grade temples and submit a report within 15 days. Based on this evaluation, a committee headed by Chief Secretary will make appropriate recommendations to the Chief Minister for enhancing safety in temples. Besides, during a meeting, the Chief Minister had suggested some measures to prevent fire accidents in temples.
These decisions were taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the Chief Mnister at the Secretariat here on Monday on measures to be taken to prevent fire accidents in temples under HR and CE department.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, HR and CE Minister Sevvoor S Ramachandran, senior ministers, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan, TANGEDCO Managing Director M Sai Kumar, DGP TK Rajendran, Chennai city police commissioner AK Viswanathan and other officials. The meeting was held in the wake of the fire accident in Meenakshi Amman temple, Madurai and at the Thiruvalangadu temple.
Official sources said there are 49 senior-grade temples in the State and this evaluation would be held in senior grade temples in the first phase and it would be extended to other temples in due course. An official release here said based on the evaluation of the existing fire-prevention arrangements, a report would be prepared on the personnel required for carrying out the works, experts, engineers and funds required. This report would be studied by the committee headed by the chief secretary and submit its recommendations to the government.
“To ensure immediate safety, the shops located along the temple compound walls as well as within temple premises should be removed. The feasibility for locating these shops in a different place should be examined,” the Chief Minister said and added that quality electrical connections should be ensured in all senior grade temples, without affecting the ancient sculptures, stone pillars and other structures.
The oil and ghee brought by devotees should be collected in a place at the temple and that should be used for day-to-day requirements within the temples. This should be intimated to the people by putting it up on big notice boards.
Fire-prevention arrangements in major temples should be reviewed once in two or three months. A fire-tender should be stationed near all major temples in ready-to-act condition. Fire-fighting equipment should be ready all times. Steps should be taken to retrieve assets of temples from encroachers. The CM also directed that weapon-wielding security personnel should be employed for ensuring the security of temples. Besides, technical and other employees should be appointed in required numbers.