Kollam, Apr 13: Destroyed houses, contaminated well water, chemicals and concrete chunks in the aftermath of the massive fire tragedy at Puttingal Devi temple here, 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. (Read: Declare Kollam temple fire tragedy as national calamity)
“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.
Janardhanan, another local, said a major portion of his tiled-roof house was damaged and demanded a compensation from the government to repair it. “The tiles of the front portion of the roof is damaged completely. If I do not change it, we cannot live in the building. We are now residing in my relatives house due to this,” he said.
A majority of the houses, the concrete and tiled structures suffered damage in the deadly explosion on April 10. There is also concern about presence of unexploded crackers around the temple. Paruamma, a rag picker who collects plastic bottles and other materials from the temple ground after every festival, said she was warned about live crackers while collecting things. She said children often play in the sprawling ground around the temple as summer vacations have started and unexploded crackers are a threat to them also.
Families have refused to draw water from their wells and are now dependent on municipality tankers, which have begun supplying water since yesterday. Meanwhile, Kerala government today formed a three-member sub committee to address the issues of water contamination, drinking water problems and health issues of local people.