Kollam, Apr 10: Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here today to take stock of the situation in the wake of the fire tragedy at Puttingal Devi Temple near Kollam. He first went to Thiruvananthapuram from where he came here by a navy helicopter. At Thiruvananthapuram airport, he was received by Governor Justice (Rtd) P Sathasivam and state BJP leaders, including O Rajagopal who gave him the latest update on the mishap. Modi later flew into Kollam where he was received by Chief Minister Oomen Chandy and several MPs. Immediately after reaching here, he went to medical college to see the injured people. Earlier, Chandy said he was thankful to the Prime Minister for coming to Kerala to share the grief.(Also Read: Kollam Temple fire tragedy: 108 dead, PM Narendra Modi announces Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia for victim’s kin; 10 developments)
He said he was also grateful to Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi for visiting Kerala in this hour of grief. Modi, who termed the incident as “heart-rending” and “shocking”, announced Rs two lakh each as compensation for the next of the kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 each for the injured. Earlier in the day, Modi talked to Chandy and conveyed Centre’s readiness to extend all kind of help. “Fire at temple in Kollam is heart-rending & shocking beyond words. My thoughts are with families of the deceased & prayers with the injured,” the Prime Minister said in a tweet in the morning. “Spoke to CM Oommen Chandy about the fire at a temple in Kollam.
Arranging for immediate shifting of those critically injured via helicopter,” he tweeted in the morning. The PMO said Modi was constantly monitoring the situation and was in touch with officials. He had directed that no protocol formalities be observed on his arrival in Kerala as focus should remain on relief and rescue operations in Kollam. Modi said he had also asked Health Minister J P Nadda to immediately reach the site of the fire tragedy in Kollam. 100 people were killed and over 300 injured in a major fire that broke out in the Puttingal Devi Temple complex early this morning during a display of fireworks for which there was no permission from authorities.