Kerala temple tragedy: Locals fear contamination of well water

Demand compensation from state govt to fix their homes destroyed in the Sunday’s fire

Kollam: Destroyed houses, contaminated well water, chemicals and concrete chunks in the aftermath of the massive fire tragedy at Puttingal Devi temple on Sunday, are now a cause of concern for people living in the locality. The tragedy has so far claimed 113 lives and left over 300 injured.

Many families in the area have either moved to houses of relatives or are busy repairing damaged portions of their residences. People also harbour apprehensions about the purity of the water in the wells as most of them are filled with crackers and concrete debris in the aftermath of the explosion.

“I fear there are human remains in the water. In the aftermath of the massive explosion in the fireworks display, body parts of victims had scattered near the mishap site. The officials have collected water samples. We are awaiting the results,” 67-year-old Sarasamma, who lives near the site, said.

Families have refused to draw water from their wells and are now dependent on municipality tankers, which have begun supplying water since Tuesday.

Janardhanan, another local, said a major portion of his tiled-roof house was damaged and demanded compensation from the state to repair it. A majority of the houses suffered a heavy damage in the deadly explosion on Sunday.

'Declare tragedy as national calamity'
Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government yesterday requested the Centre to immediately declare the Puttingal Devi temple tragedy as a national calamity.  “The Centre should take necessary steps to declare the tragedy as a national calamity without delay,” Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after a cabinet meeting that reviewed steps taken so far in the aftermath of the tragedy.  

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