As more details of the horrendous tragedy at a temple in Kollam, Kerala, India during fire works display that resulted in death of more than 100 people is coming out, it is becoming clear that it was a very well fore-seen and avoidable disaster.
An old woman living 25 meters away from the site had given a written complaint to the authorities asking them to ban fire works. She had mentioned that she is suffering from heart disease and cannot withstand loud sounds. She had also complained that her house regularly gets damaged due to this annual event.
The district authorities asked officials of the police, fire safety, environment and revenue departments to enquire and give reports. After receiving all the reports, the district authorities issued an order on Friday 8th of April disallowing permission for fire works. The order mentions chances of accident as one of the reason for not allowing it. Sadly the temple authorities ignored the order and went ahead with fire works, which resulted in this massive tragedy.
It is said by locals that there was a last-minute political interference and an oral nod to go ahead was given, but now every one is denying it. In India more people violate laws than follow them. Violators of laws usually go unpunished too.
Sadly it was the near and dear of those who died in this mishap, that got punished for this law violation by temple authorities.
Finally some good news. The Indian Medical Association, the forum of doctors, in a laudable move is planning to approach the High Court with a petition to ban or severely restrict such loud fire works displays as they are a health hazard for the population.