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Kollam Temple Tragedy 2016: Celebration Turned into Mass Destruction

Updated on November 4, 2016

What Exactly Happened?

One of the most devastating debacles in the history of India, the Kollam temple fire in the wee hours of April 10, 2016, was not only a nightmare for the people of Kerala, but the entire country. Millions of people across the world, including the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, expressed their grief and sadness on social media platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, regarding the mass tragedy.

Unlike natural calamities, man-made disasters can be totally prevented if we diligently follow all the rules and regulations set by disaster management authorities. This is the time when things like term insurance and precautionary measures come into action. According to an article published in The Indian Express, a stray firecracker accidentally dropped on a huge pile of stored fireworks, which led to relentless explosions, claiming hundreds of lives and grievously injuring more than 350 people in the 100-year-old Puttingal Temple, located in the Kollam District of Kerala.

Fireworks have always been a major part of celebrations in the country, especially in the state of Kerala. The 10-day annual celebration of the Meenabharani festival involves a spectacular parade of fireworks on the last day, as it is believed that the Goddess bestows her blessings upon her devotees on the final day. The temple authorities, despite being given a warning by the Kollam District Administration, went ahead with their extravagant fireworks display that triggered a series of explosions, according to a report published in The Hindu.

The Aftermath

Right after the dreadful incident, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paused all his ongoing engagements, and along with a team of doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), rushed to Kollam to take stock of the entire situation, accompanied the Union Health Minister, JP Nadda.

“Fire at the temple in Kollam is heartrending and shocking beyond words. My thoughts are with families of the deceased and prayers with the injured,” said Prime Minister Modi, in a press conference, after gathering information about the number of casualties. He further added that the ghastly incident cannot be expressed in mere words.

According to an article published in The New York Times, the Kerala police filed criminal complaints against 17 temple officials and the fireworks contractor for culpable homicide and violation of safety norms set by authorities. Furthermore, the government of Kerala ordered a judicial inquiry with a six-month deadline. Massive rescue operations, led by the Indian Navy and Air Force, took place in an attempt to shift all the injured people to medical care facilities as soon as possible. One Dornier aircraft and six helicopters were used to rescue the injured.

The Solution

As mentioned earlier, man-made disasters can surely be avoided if we adhere to safety norms and regulations laid down by the National Disaster Management Authority. The horrific incident was a result of pure negligence, ignorance, and human apathy.

Acclaimed Bollywood filmmaker Shekhar Kapur tweeted, “People go to pray and celebrate life. Come away in wake of death and tragedy #fireworks getting dangerous and must be controlled #Kollam.”

But disasters comes uninvited. Be it natural or man-made. To ensure adequate financial backup for your family in your absence, buying a suitable term insurance plan is the best way to shield yourself from unpredictable catastrophes, say experts at Birla Sun Life Insurance.

Unlike traditional life insurance policies, you can buy a term insurance plan at an extremely low premium. Additionally, these policies also provide health cover for a number of critical illnesses, such as heart attack, stroke, all types and stages of cancer, multiple sclerosis, etc. So, if any unforeseen circumstance should befall you, at least your family is guaranteed the sum assured. It is like a protective layer between them and crisis.

As far as the temple catastrophe is concerned, the only way to ensure that a celebration does not turn into mass tragedy is to abide by safety norms.


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