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Kerala temple fire heartrending, shocking: Modi

New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday described the fire at Kerala temple that killed over 90 people as “heartrending and shocking”. He is expected to visit the accident site later in the day.

“Fire at temple in Kollam is heartrending and shocking beyond words. My thoughts are with families of the deceased and prayers with the injured,” Modi said in a tweet.

At least 96 people were killed in an accident on Sunday due to a firework display which caused a massive blaze at the Puttingal temple in the coastal town of Paravur located about 60 kms from the state capital, Thiruvananthapuram.

More than 200 people have been injured.

“I will be reaching Kerala soon to take stock of the situation arising duer to the unfortunate fire tragedy in Kollam,” Modi said.

Modi said he spoke with Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and also announced an ex-gratia relief of Rs.2 lakh for the kins of the dead and Rs.50,000 for those seriously injured.

“…arranging for immediate shifting for those critically injured, by a helicopter.”

Officials informed the prime minister had directed authorities not to follow any protocol on his arrival at the site and instead focus on a better and extensive relief and rescue operation.