Theni fire: Enquiry panel begins probe

By PTI Published on Mar 22, 2018 12:38 PM IST

Theni: The Enquiry Officer appointed by the Tamilnadu government to probe the circumstances leading to the deaths of several trekkers in a forest fire in the Kurangani hills, began its probe.

Atulya Mishra, Principal secretary, revenue and disaster management, began his enquiry into the fire, which has so far claimed 17 lives.

Officials said he interacted with personnel of the forest, ambulance and police departments yesterday and is expected to soon visit the site of the fire.

The Terms of Reference include circumstances leading to the incident, a review of procedure in the Forest Department for regulation and permission for trekking in reserved forest areas.

Mishra will also go into "role and lapses, if any," on the part of trekking organisers and forest officials. He has been tasked with submitting a report to the government within two months, along with recommendations to avoid such incidents in future.

Meanwhile, police said they had received complaints of missing jewellery and other valuables from the bodies of the deceased and added that they had asked family members to give written complaints.

A total of 39 persons - 12 from Erode and Tirupur and 27 from Chennai had embarked on the trip on 10 March.

Three among the Chennai group went to Kerala and the rest proceeded for trekking. Of the 36 persons caught in the forest fire, 17 died, 10 were rescued without any injuries and the rest are undergoing treatment.