The ceiling was thoroughly soaked in recent rains
A woman was killed and two others were injured when a portion of the ceiling of ‘Girivala Praharam’ on the northeastern side of the Subramania Swamy Temple in Tiruchendur collapsed at 10.15 a.m. on Thursday.
While Pechiammal (44), wife of Adi Narayanan of Mutharamman Kovil Street in the town, a buttermilk vendor, died on the spot, M. Kandasamy (74), a devotee from Tiruppur, and P. Senthil Arumugam (66)of Subramaniapuram, a sukku-malli coffee vendor, sustained injuries, sources said.
The injured were admitted to Tirunelveli Government Medical College Hospital. Many devotees said the collapsed portion of the ceiling of the ‘Girivala Praharam’, which was built 44 years ago, was thoroughly soaked in the recent rains.
Relatives of the victims and local people were angered by the “apathy of the officials” who had to maintain the structure and blocked the Main Road. Later, they thronged Tiruchendur Government Hospital, and demanded compensation for the victims. Revenue and police officials pacified them.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami announced a solatium of Rs. 5 lakh to the family of the deceased and Rs. 1 lakh each to the two injured. Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister Sevvoor S. Ramachandran, along with Collector N. Venktesh, inspected the accident spot.
The Collector said a team of officials would be formed to check the structural stability of the ceiling. He said the team, to be led by the Executive Engineer of PWD (Buildings), Thoothukudi, and comprising the Tiruchendur Revenue Divisional Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Assistant Executive Engineer (Buildings), and the Engineer at the office of the Assistant Director (Panchayats), would submit a report to the district administration soon.
Superintendent of Police P. Mahendran said the ‘Girivala Praharam’ area was blocked following the accident. Based on a complaint lodged by Tiruchendur Village Administrative Officer Karthikeyan, Tiruchendur Temple police have registered a case under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.