Amid growing clamour for ban on temple fireworks display in Kerala in wake of Kollam temple fire tragedy, the Travancore Devaswom Board, which manages about 1,255 temples in the state, today said it was not for a complete ban on such displays.
Prayar Goapalakrishnan, President of TDB, said the board was against banning the pyrotechnics during temple festivals as they are part of rituals.
“But it should be as per the restrictions of government and court orders with sufficient safety measures”, he told PTI.
“In various temples fireworks display is part of temple rituals and we cannot ban it”, he said.
The board has issued an urgent circular to all temples under it, directing that the fireworks display be carried out only in compliance with rules and regulations.
Board member Ajay Tharayil, however, said he was in favour of a ‘total ban’ on major fireworks.
Meanwhile, Prof M Kutty, president of the Thiruvambadi Devaswom, one of the organisers of the famous Thrissur Pooram to be held on April 17 said, “We will be conducting the festival, observing all legal formalities“. The fireworks festivities cannot be cancelled, he said, adding it was an age-old tradition.
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had said yesterday that the government could impose regulations on the display of fireworks, but cannot ban them.
“In the name of rituals and traditions, we have limitations. We can regulate them (display of fireworks) but not ban them”, he said.
Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister A. K. Antony said government “should” consider the possibility of banning fireworks display in the light of the tragedy.
A devastating fire had engulfed the 100-year-old Puttingal Devi Temple complex near here during an unauthorised display of fireworks yesterday, leaving 109 dead.