KOCHI: The Justice P S Gopinathan Commission probing the 2016 Puttingal fireworks mishap will conclude its sittings by next month. The commission plans to submit the inquiry report to the government before the panel’s tenure ends on February 12, 2019.
Currently, the commission is hearing the arguments by the counsel representing the people who were impleaded as party in the commission.
“As per the schedule, the argument stage is to conclude on November 3. However, if any witness come forward with a request for further hearing, a few more sittings will be held. The commission is planning to conclude its sittings by next month and file the report before the completion of its tenure in February next year,” said K Vasudevan, retired sub-judge and secretary to Justice P S Gopinathan Inquiry Commission.
As part of the inquiry, the commission has examined 172 witnesses and 176 documents. Around 80 sittings were held starting from 2017 at the commission office in Ernakulam, and also at Asramom, Varkala and Sivagiri. As many as 12 persons were impleaded as a party with the inquiry commission, which comprises the District Collector, Additional District Magistrate, Police Commissioner, Assistant Police Commissioner, circle inspector, sub-inspector and temple committee members.
The fireworks tragedy at Puttingal Devi temple in Kollam on April 10, 2016, had left more than 100 people dead and thousands injured. Apart from the police investigation, the judicial commission was appointed to probe into the incident. Multiple agencies conducted investigation into the incident, which pointed out serious safety negligence by the authorities and organisers.
The Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) which conducted an inquiry into the incident, had found the use of potassium chlorate in the explosives. It was also found fire barrels were placed improperly, which led to the mishap.