Just as Aluva town gears up of Sivarathri, its biggest festival, a petition has been filed before the High Court seeking a ban on operation of temporary amusement park with dangerous rides.
Filed by a social activist and political leader, Gireesh MM of Thottumugham, it questions Aluva Municipality’s move to give tender for the mentioned rides on the vast extent of property lying adjacent to Siva Temple.
The order passed by the High Court dated 21 February, 2017 states, ‘Respondents 1 to 3 (State of Kerala represented by Chief Secretary, District Collector Ernakulam, Civil Station, Kakkanad and Aluva Municipality represented by its Secretary) are directed to ensure that the activities mentioned in the writ petition regarding the operation of temporary Amusement Park is not permitted to carry out by operating of equipments, unless all due clearances are issued in terms of laws governing such amusement establishments.
Allegedly, these large devices that are usually run on power generator, are being operated on without adopting any measures to ensure safety. “NOC (No objection certificate), licensing and safety certificate by PWD (Public works department), Fire department, rescue department etc. is mandatory. Without obtaining the appropriate licenses and certificates, these rides cannot be operated. Till now, a proper licensing system hasn’t been followed. And when an accident takes place, the blame is often transferred from one department to another,” says Advocate Benoy K Kadavan, the counsel who has been appearing pro bono.
On September 8th 2016, two children died after falling from a giant wheel at a similar amusement park set up in relation to Onam celebrations at Chittar in Pathanamthitta.
According to VC Abraham, Chairperson of Aluva Municipality, “All the needed sanctions and permissions have been granted by the various departments in concern. The Nagarasabha has already granted permission to go ahead with the rides and all safety measures have been taken into consideration.”
However, according to counsel Benoy K Kadavan, these documents- the licenses and certificates should be produced before the High Court. “The successful bidder for this tender hasn’t been able to produce NOC and the required documents to the court,” he says. Also, according to him, the filed petition states that to avoid any mishaps and ensure complete safety, the State Government should look into the matter as well.
The petitioner Mr Gireesh MM too, maintains that safety is the main concern here. The call to set up a legal mechanism to ensure safety of such rides was mooted post the Pathanamthitta incident, reads the petition.
It has come to notice of the petitioner upon enquiry that allegedly, operators of these rides at Aluva Manappuram have no understanding of the safety measures required and they are operating without the licences required as per law.