Nearly half of the Chuttambalom of the centuries’ ancient Ramapuram Sree Krishna Temple in Ranni attached to Travancore Devaswom Board was gutted in a fire that broke out on Sunday night.

The ‘thidappally’ made of wood has been completely burnt. However, the sanctum sanctorum was unaffected.

The fire was first sighted by the local residents who informed the Fire and Rescue Force as well as the police around 10 pm. The Fire and Rescue Force personnel reached the spot from their camp situated hardly a kilometre away in Ranni town only after an hour, alleged a local resident. Meanwhile, the locals had managed to put out the fire. A heavy downpour at the same time also made their job easy. The temple authorities suspect that the fire was caused by a short circuit.

Devaswom Commissioner, P.V.Nalinakshan Nair and Chief Engineer, V.S.Rajagopal, visited the site on Monday morning. The Commissioner told The Hindu that though the devaswom watchman at the temple, Gireeshbabu, had put his signature on the attendance register, he was not present at the mishap site on Sunday night. He would be suspended from service, pending inquiry, Mr Nair said.

Mr Nair said the loss has been estimated at Rs 10 lakhs and steps would be taken to complete the repair works in a time-bound fashion. TDB members, V.Sasi and K.Cicily, are also expected to visit the temple on Monday, devaswom sources said.

Aikyavedi charge

Meanwhile, Hindu Aikyavedi State general secretary, Kummanam Rajashekharan, alleged that the fire outbreak at the ancient temple was a testimony to the gross neglect on the part of TDB.

Mr Rajashekharan said devotees are deeply concerned about the indifferent attitude of the Government as well as TDB towards the safety aspects at various temples, especially in the backdrop of the increasing number of thefts and other security lapses at temples across the State.

He has called upon the TDB authorities to take immediate steps to ensure “effective protection’’ to various temples attached to it.