After Theni forest fire, political leaders urge state govt. to ensure safety of trekkers

Updated - March 13, 2018 02:15 pm IST

Published - March 12, 2018 04:00 pm IST - CHENNAI

Several students are trapped in a major forest fire near the Kurangani hills in Theni district of Tamil Nadu on Sunday.

Several students are trapped in a major forest fire near the Kurangani hills in Theni district of Tamil Nadu on Sunday.

Several political leaders on Monday expressed condolences over the death of trekkers in forest fire in Kurangani in Theni district and urged the government to take adequate steps to prevent such incidents in the future.

In a statement issued here, DMK working president M.K. Stalin said since the forest department was well aware that Kurangani area was prone to forest fires, it should have taken preventive measure to avoid the tragedy. “The district administration and forest department should ensure safety measures in the future,” he said while calling for quality medical treatment to those injured.

PMK leader S. Ramadoss made a strong case for regulating trekking while pointing out that the first round of inquiry had revealed that the organisation that arranged the trekking was responsible for tragedy.

“Forest fire is frequent during the period between February and end of summer and the period is not advisable for trekking. If the organisation had obtained permission from the forest department and taken along tribals in the forest, the tragedy could have been avoided,” he said.

Mr. Ramadoss also wondered why the trekkers were allowed to visit the area, especially when the area was witnessing forest fire in the last week.

Dravidar Kazhagam president K. Veeramani said since trekking was a challenging task, adequate training and safety measures should have been followed before launching the venture.

CPI(M) state secretary K. Balakrishnan said an exhaustive inquiry was necessary to find out how trekkers were allowed in an area where forest fires were frequent.

Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar MLA T.T.V. Dhinakaran alleged that failure of the state government and the forest department to prevent the trekkers was had resulted in the tragedy. “In the future the government should follow clear guidelines before allowing trekking. Guides should accompany the trekkers,” he said.

Manithaneya Makkal Katchi leader M.H. Jawahirullah demanded action against the organisers of the trek who took women and children into the forest sans permission.

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