Kerala firecracker storage unit blast: Victims move HC seeking compensation for damage

According to the petitioners, their properties have been partially destroyed causing huge monetary loss to them.
The blast site.
The blast site.

KOCHI : The victims of the explosion at a temporary firecracker storage unit at Choorakad set up in connection with the festival at Puthiyakavu temple approached the Kerala High Court on Thursday seeking a directive to authorise a competent official to assess the damage caused to them on account of the explosion. They also sought compensation in tune with the damage suffered by them within a time-frame. Besides, the victims also sought a direction to the government to pay a compensation of Rs 1 lakh towards the mental agony and the insecurity suffered by them.

Advocate Asif Ali M H, counsel for the petitioners, submitted that despite repeated requests of the petitioners seeking immediate disbursal of compensation, the competent authorities have not even taken any steps to assess the damage suffered by the petitioners. When the petition filed by Gopinadhan C, of Aishwarya Nagar, Choorakad, and 14 residents came up for hearing, Justice Viju Abraham directed the government pleader to inform the competent authority for assessing damages caused to the petitioners.

According to the petitioners, their properties have been partially destroyed causing huge monetary loss to them. The state is under an obligation to ensure that explosive substances are not used illegally or in such a manner that the general safety of the public is endangered. This would include the duty to ensure that storage, transportation and use of explosives for a firework display is conducted in a manner as prescribed in the Explosive Rules- 2008. But this has been brazenly breached by the organisers. The explosion occurred due to the lack of care and dereliction of duty on the part of temple authorities.

It destroyed properties located within a radius of one km from the place of occurrence. Windows, doors, and all glass materials including crockery items, lights, and kitchen cupboards were all broken and destroyed, said the petitioners.

Four karayogam members surrender

Four karayogam members who were accused in a case registered following the explosion at the illegal firecracker storage unit as part of the fireworks display at Puthiyakavu Bhagavathi temple, Choorakad, surrendered before the police on Thursday. The police had registered case against them for culpable homicide following the explosion on February 12. The surrendered include karayogam president Sajeesh Kumar, secretary Rajesh K R, treasurer Sathyan and member Rajeev. Earlier, the police had arrested four persons, including those who supplied the explosives. It was around noon that all accused reached the Hill Palace police station and completed the surrender procedure. They were later produced before a court which remanded them in judicial custody. The investigation revealed that without any licence, the karayogam members ordered explosives and arranged a facility to stock them where the explosion took place.

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