The Ernakulam district administration has ordered a magisterial inquiry by the Sub Collector into the firecracker explosion at Choorakkadu in Puthiyakavu division of Thripunithura municipality that claimed two lives and left scores of people injured, some critically, on Monday.
The Sub Collector has been asked to wrap up the probe within a fortnight. However, the inquiry remains yet to be launched since the official was away in Thiruvananthapuram attending an election-related meeting.
The district administration is also in the process of drawing up a report on the expected compensation after assessing the extent of the damage. The report will then be submitted to the State government.
The Thripunithura municipality has received complaints from nearly 300 families about damage to houses and properties caused by the explosion. “Once the registration is complete, our revenue and engineering divisions will assess the extent of damage. We will then report it to the government since the municipality is in no position to dole out compensation in that scale,” said Rema Santhosh, municipal chairperson.
However, residents in the area remain adamant that the Nair Karayogam, which owns the land where the explosion took place, distribute the compensation at the earliest. “We cannot wait for receiving compensation from the government since it takes years going by the bitter experience of victims of similar such incidents elsewhere. Our demand is that the Nair Karayogam be held responsible and made to pay the compensation,” said Santhosh Kumar M., president of Choorakkadu West Residents Association (CWRA) and the zonal president of Tripunithura Rajanagari Union of Residents Associations (TRURA), the apex body of residents associations in Thripunithura municipality.
He said around a 100 houses in CWRA had suffered damage in different degrees, while 15 houses had been completely damaged and were uninhabitable.
Meanwhile, the Hill Palace police on Tuesday produced the four persons arrested in connection with the case in the court and got them remanded. The arrested are Vinod, 42, of Piravom, Vineeth, 27, of Vembayam, and Satheeshan and Sasikumar of Thripunithura.
They were not among the accused named in the first information report (FIR) who continue to be absconding. “We will arraign more persons associated with the temple committee as accused. More arrests are likely in the coming days,” said the Hill Palace police.
The FIR arraigned as accused Sajeesh Kumar, identified as the Devaswom president, Rajesh, Devaswom secretary, Sathyan, Devaswom treasurer, and Adarsh of Thiruvananthapuram who had taken contract for the fireworks, apart from more identifiable persons.
They were booked under IPC sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), 308 (attempt to commit culpable homicide), 34 (common intention), 427 (causing damage), and 337 (causing hurt by act endangering life or personal safety of others). Besides, they were also booked under relevant Sections of the Explosives Substances Act.