March 19, 2018
Chennai : Tamil Nadu chief minister Edapaddi Palaniswami on Monday blamed the trekkers for the forest fire tragedy as they had gone their without permission. Speaking in assembly, the chief minister said the toll in the forest fire reached 17.
A group of 39 trekkers had gone up the Kurangani Hills in the Theni district on March 11 and were caught in forest fire. The chief minister said two trekking grous one from Chennai and the other from Erode and Tiruppur went up the hill without necessary official permissions.
The chief minister said a solatium of Rs 4 lakh each will be paid to the members of the deceased family and Rs 1 lakh each to the seriously injured people and Rs 50,000 to others who suffered injuries.
The forest fire spread across the region because of tall grown lemon grass that has an oil content.
The chief minister said a 12-member team though had paid an entry fee of Rs.200 each had taken an unofficial route. The entry fee, the CM said, was valid only for a day, but they overstayed in a tea estate guest house over the night. The fee validity had expired, the CM said.
Palaniswami said the 24-member trekking team from Chennai Trekking Club took an unauthorised trekking route. A probe has already been initiated into the forest fire.