Now, disaster-preparedness of Thrissur Pooram to be reviewed

Pyrotechnic display forms major part of the celebrations at the Thrissur Pooram. Photo: K. K. Najeeb  

Following the disaster at the Paravur temple in Kollam, concerns are now being raised about safety at festivals, including Thrissur Pooram, where a pyrotechnic display forms major part of the celebrations.

The State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA) will revisit the disaster preparedness at Thrissur where elaborate fireworks have been planned. The SDMA is also planning to re-issue the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For Festival Disasters, which the Institute of Land and Disaster Management had brought out in March last year, Sekhar L. Kuriakose, the member secretary of the SDMA said.

Though the safety aspects at the Thrissur Pooram site rests with the other government agencies, the SDMA will intervene to reactivate the safety network in the view of the Kollam accident. The authorities concerned will be apprised of the need for ensuring the safety guidelines and SOP, he said.

The SOP, which contained the guidelines and for the safety in religious mass gatherings, if followed in its letter and spirit, would have averted the risks significantly, said Faizal T. Illiyas, the lead author the document.

Ideally, there should be a distance of 100 metres between where the fireworks are set off and the spectators, which would reduce the accident risk considerably. However, at Kollam, the primary inference is that the distance was less than 50 metres, Mr. Illiyas said.

Even thought the SOP was issued after holding elaborate consultations, it could not be notified as an act or rule. If notified and incorporated into relevant legislations, it would have given more teeth to the enforcement agencies, he said.

Going by the provisions of the Explosives Rules, permission needs to be obtained seven days before the pyrotechnic event. By that time, the organisers would have completed all arrangements for the event, including the selection of the contractor and the preparation of pits from where the crackers would be set off. There would be little scope for correction and introduction of safety measures.

As every festival would be planned well in advance, the organizers should seek for permission for pyrotechnique events without waiting for the last one week, he suggested.

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Printable version | Jun 9, 2021 11:14:09 PM |

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