Prime Minister Narendra Modi has reached Kollam to take stock of the situation on the ground after a massive fire at the Puttingal Devi temple in Kollam killed more than 100 people, and injured another 280 people.
The fire broke out when a display of fireworks was being held in the temple complex. Thousands of people had gathered to see the display when a store room full of fireworks exploded.
The Prime Minister left for Kerala from the capital shortly before noon. He has with him a team of specialised doctors who will help treat the wounded.
“I will be reaching Kerala soon to take stock of the situation arising due to the unfortunate fire tragedy in Kollam,” tweeted PM Modi before leaving.
The Prime Minister’s Office said that PM Modi had directed authorities not to observe any protocol formalities on his arrival in Kerala.
“PM has directed that no protocol formalities be observed on his arrival in Kerala & focus remains on relief & rescue operations in Kollam,” tweeted the PMO.
In an earlier tweet PM Modi called the temple tragedy “heart-rending & shocking beyond words”. He announced Rs two lakh each as compensation for the next of the kin of the dead and Rs 50,000 each for the injured.
He also said he was in touch with authorities on the ground including Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy who visited the accident site and the injured at various hospitals in the city.
“Spoke to CM Oommen Chandy about the fire at a temple in Kollam. Arranging for immediate shifting of those critically injured via helicopter,” PM Modi tweeted earlier in the day.
Modi said he had also asked Health Minister J P Nadda to immediately reach the site of the fire tragedy in Kollam. BJP National President Amit Shah cancelled all his public functions in Kerala today and has rushed to the Trivandrum Medical college to visit the injured patients.
Meanwhile, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi is also arrived in Kerala to meet the victims of the tragedy.
He is leaving for Kollam to express solidarity, offer condolences and see the relief and rehabilitation operations in the wake of the massive fire at the temple, AICC chief spokesman Randeep Surjewala said before Rahul left Delhi.
He will also meet those injured in the mishap, added Surjewala.
(With inputs from PTI)