Curbs on Sabarimala fireworks

Curbs on Sabarimala fireworks

Poor safety measures lead to temporary banTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Pathanamthitta district administration on Tuesday imposed a "temporary ban" on "vedi

Curbs on Sabarimala fireworks

 The Pathanamthitta district administration on Tuesday imposed a “temporary ban” on “vedi vazhipadu” (a traditional firework offering by devotees) at the Ayyappa Temple in Sabarimala.

The ban was imposed following a police report which exposed poor safety standards followed in procuring and stocking explosive materials.

The action follows a report by Pradeepkumar R, DySP (Administration) based on an inspection of a store at the temple which stocks huge loads of gunpowder and other materials used for the offerings.

The licence to store these materials, issued to the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) which manages the temple, had also expired on March 31.

“We inspected the explosive materials at the temple yesterday (on Monday) and found that they are stored in an extremely unscientific manner. The windows of the store were left open; all it takes is a spark to trigger a massive disaster,” Pradeepkumar told DH.

The DySP submitted his report to the district police chief, later handed over to District Collector S Harikishore. According to the police, the contractor—selected after a tendering process—could be storing “at least” ten times the permissible stock of 500 kg of explosive material.

“That’s the way he makes profits,” Pradeepkumar said.
The DySP also said that officials at the TDB did not show intent in rectifying the issues. “They themselves told me that renewing licences could take about 45 days but did not bother to start the process even after the licence expired,” he said.

‘Unaware’ of violation

TDB president Prayar Gopalakrishnan told DH that the board was not aware of any violation of the licensing procedure.

“I haven’t received the details of the report. If there is anything which goes against set practices, we’ll address them,” he said. The Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple will remain open till April 18, for the Vishu festival season.

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