Probe report reveals administrative lapses

 The inquiry conducted by the Joint Chief Controller of Explosives (JCCE) on the Union Government’s direction into last year’s Puttingal fireworks tragedy has revealed several administrative lapses by

Published: 09th August 2017 01:16 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th August 2017 09:33 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: The inquiry conducted by the Joint Chief Controller of Explosives (JCCE) on the Union Government’s direction into last year’s Puttingal fireworks tragedy has revealed several administrative lapses by the district administration and the Police Department.In the inquiry report submitted before the Justice P S Gopinathan Commission, JCCE A K Yadav, Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), said the Puttingal temple committee had approached the Kollam District Magistrate on February 23, 2016, seeking a licence to conduct the fireworks display on April 9, 2016. Upon scrutiny by the inquiry committee, it was found the column pertaining to the name of the persons employed to handle the explosives, their experience and the names of the persons supervising the display was left blank. 

“The quantity of explosives to be used for display was mentioned as 12 kg. The fireworks listed were 10,000 crackers, 200 ‘amittu’, 100 ‘kalayam’ and other items numbering 100, which is ridiculous considering the number of items used during the display,” said the report which has been marked as evidence.

The report said the site plan submitted by the applicant did not indicate the location of the storage shed to be used to store the fireworks, as per condition 2 of licence in for LE 6. Moreover, the minimum required distance of 100 m between the display area and the spectators was also not marked in the site plan, it said.
“The lapses in the submitted application merited its rejection outright. However, the District Magistrate accepted the application at the time and forwarded it to various departments for inquiry,” the report said.
It said the district police authorities were aware of the subsequent refusal of licence by the District Magistrate for the display of fireworks.

“Since they were aware of this, they should have taken preventive measures to ensure the managing committee did not go ahead with the display. However, it was found the display was conducted in the presence of police personnel, the Kollam tahsildar and Paravur village officer,” it said.The inquiry report also claimed lack of communication between the police and the district administration. When the inquiry officer cross examined the tahsildar and CI together, the latter deposed, “How is it possible the tahsildar could not locate me when I was available on the temple premises wearing a uniform with three stars.”

‘Inordinate delay in rejecting application’ The inquiry report said there was an inordinate delay on the part of the district administration in rejecting the application. By the time the application was rejected - a day before the display - the preparations had been made and the event was publicised. The District Magistrate should have announced the decision to reject the licence via visual and print media, the report said.


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