392 people killed in 381 accidents in the last seven years

The number of deaths due to firework accidents is on the rise in the district and the State. As many as 392 people were killed in 381 accidents in the last seven years in the State with Palakkad district topping the list with 12 accidents and 29 deaths in the last three years.

The latest tragedy was during the Nenmara Vallangi Vela on Wednesday in which dynamites went off killing one person.

The explosives went off in the holes dug in the ground and large masses of earth fell on those assembled. At least 40 people were injured then, the police said.

In February, seven persons were killed at Panniyamkurissy, near Cherplassery, when explosive material stored in a fireworks manufacturing unit caught fire. In a similar accident at Thrangali, near Shonaur, in February last year, 12 persons had lost their lives.

The high incidence of firework accidents may be due to the large number of ‘pooram’ and ‘vela’ festivals in which fireworks display is a major attraction.

In 2006, there were 24 accidents in which as many people died. In 2007 it rose to 38 accidents and 42 deaths. In 2008, the accidents rose to 49 killing as many people. The number of deaths touched 57 in 2009. The number of accidents was 53.

In 2010, there were 53 accidents which claimed 66 lives. It further rose to 58 killing 68 persons in 2011. Last year, there were 59 accidents killing seven persons. In the first three months of 2013 there occurred 27 accidents which killed 17 people. 

Public Interest Forum secretary V.K. Venkatachalam, in a petition to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the Chief Controller of Explosives here on Thursday, sought action against fireworks owners, officials, and temple festival committee authorities for the accident at Nenmara.

The petition said fireworks manufacturing licensees were allowed to possess only 15 kg of explosives but some of them stored 50 to 60 tonnes of explosives. The manufacturers use sub-contractors to store huge quantity of fireworks to make profits, it said.

Dynamites and ‘gundu’ were prohibited in the State by the High Court in 2003. In 2009, in another order, the High Court imposed restrictions on the sound level of explosions, high decibel crackers, Mr. Venkatachalam said. He said many banned chemicals were being rampantly used. The government should ensure strict implementation of norms, he added.

  • Palakkad had 12 accidents, 29 deaths in 3 years

  • Strict implementation of norms sought