Kerala bans trekking in forests after Theni wildfire tragedy

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Kerala bans trekking in forests after Theni wildfire tragedy

The Tamil Nadu government has ordered a probe into the incident. Those with burn injuries should heal fast.

State health secretary J.Radhakrishnan told newsmen after inspecting the facilities being given for the burn victims at GRH that efforts were on to save the lives of trekkers, who have been admitted with severe burn injuries. Tamil Nadu CM Edapadi Palani Sami has announced compensation of Rs 4 lakh for next of kin of those died and Rs 1 lakh for people with serious injuries and Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries. The bodies have been sent for identification and would be handed over to the relatives after autopsy. The chief minister Edappadi K.Palaniswami is headed for Madurai to visit the injured persons in the hospital. Around 1 pm on Sunday, a rage of wildfire got spread over the woods made the amature trekkers panicked and they were spilt into two teams.

According to sources, it is now the forest fire season in the dry Western Ghats, especially in the Theni and Palani hills, due to which the forest department does not allow any trekking anywhere along the ghats, hinting that the forest officials could be at fault for allowing the trek to take place. "Without permission, they embarked on a trekking expedition", he said.

The operation is underway and further details are awaited.

The choppers then airlifted the bodies to a temporary helipad erected in the playground of a private college, following which these were taken to the Theni Medical College Hospital for post-mortem.

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The commandos flew from the Sulur Air Base near Coimbatore late on Sunday and climbed the hills.

The team included 25 women and three children, according to Theni District Collector Mariam Pallavi Baldev.

The group had camped at a place up in the hills on Saturday night.

After staying overnight at an estate in Kozhukumalai, they started their return journey to the plains today when they heard about the sudden forest fire and got separated while attempting to find a safe way.

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