Theni: With the death toll in the forest fire in Theni district increasing to 10 on Monday, the Tamil Nadu government has ordered a full-fledged probe into the Kurangani hills forest fire tragedy to ascertain how the fire spread. Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami also assured action against those who allegedly arranged for the trekking expedition without permission.
Seven women and three men were killed in the fire at Kurangani Hill ranges in Western Ghats. While seven of the victims were from Chennai, others were from Erode district. He said 17 persons with burn injuries were admitted to the hospitals - 10 in Madurai government hospital, five in Theni GH and two in private hospitals.
The district administration and health department officials have been instructed to ensure best medical treatment to those admitted to local hospitals, he added. He also prayed for their swift recovery.
“Ten persons are dead, while 17 of the rescued have been hospitalised and 10 did not require hospitalisation,” Commissioner of Revenue Administration K Sathyagopal told reporters.
A 36-member team — 24 people from Chennai and 12 from Tiruppur and Erode districts — on a trekking expedition reached Kurangani hills on March 10. They were said to have been joined by three others. The team included 25 women and three children, according to Theni District Collector Mariam Pallavi Baldev.
According to Pallavi Baldev, the trekkers after staying overnight at an estate in Kozhukumalai started their return journey to the plains yesterday morning when they heard about the sudden forest fire and got separated while attempting to find a safe way.
State health minister C Vijayabhaskar said the injured trekkers were received at Kurangani by a medical team. “There is a medical team. Nine patients have already been shifted to Government Hospital in Bodi and they are all stable,” he told reporters.