HR&CE circular issued in the wake of recent accidents
In the wake of fire accidents at two temples recently, the Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, P. Dhanapal, has directed all temples in Tamil Nadu to immediately adopt a series of safety measures.
Besides suggesting the installation of smoke alarms, the circular states that no inflammable substance should be kept on temple premises. Only fire-resistant material should be used for construction.
A senior official told The Hindu on Monday that the circular, issued last week, also mentioned that even scaffoldings used for kumbabhishekam-related renovation works must be fireproof.
While many of these regulations were in place, the circular stated they were not being followed properly and warned officials that they would be held responsible for lapses.
Gas connections in temple kitchens preparing food for ‘Annadhanam’ and ‘prasadam’ must be inspected frequently to guard against leaks. The regulator of cylinders must be changed periodically. Safety must also be enhanced in kitchens using firewood.
Besides preventing devotes from bringing in match boxes or cigarettes into temple, the officials have been told to inspect electrical wiring and fix them using insulation tapes. Adequate number of fire extinguishers must be provided and temple staff given training in using them.
Unnecessary material kept on temple precincts must be removed immediately through public auction. Temple officials must constantly inspect temples and enhance safety measures frequently.
The circular was issued following the recent fire accidents at the Madhanagopalasamy temple in Perambalur and Thiagarajaswamy temple in Tiruvotriyur.
A senior official of the Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple here said all these measures were already in place there with sensors installed even on temple towers. Advanced and easy-to-use fire extinguishers had been procured not only for the Meenakshi temple but also most of its sub-temples.