US border not impregnable Temple fire due to security lapses
Security issues were found at nearly all of the US Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) remote facilities along the southwest border, according to a Department of Homeland Security Inspector General report. Inspectors visited seven of the 11 facilities, known as ‘Forward Operating Bases,’ (FOBs) in the El Paso, Rio Grande Valley and Tucson regions. Three of the 11 were not operational at the time of the inspection. Six of the seven facilities had security lapses, such as inoperable cameras as well as ongoing challenges with providing safe drinking water to personnel. One of the facilities also had inadequate living conditions.
The operating bases are very remote CBP facilities built to reduce the response time for Border Patrol agents working in austere areas of the border region. They are also intended to increase law enforcement’s presence in the area. Four of the bases that were inspected didn’t have fully functioning closed-circuit security cam- era systems, which is required by CBP rules to allow agents on guard duty to monitor the facility and grounds.
“Because of their proximity to the US-Mexico border, it is essential that FOBs are equipped with proper, functioning surveillance equipment,” the report stated. The report also found that customs officials were not performing all the required inspections of the facilities and didn’t keep the necessary documentation of repairs. “Without regular inspections and timely maintenance and repairs, CBP cannot ensure it will continue to provide adequate security, safety and living conditions.”
Serious security lapses in handling of explosives led to the fire disaster at Puttingal temple in Kollam, Kerala, on April 10, Chief Controller of Explosives said in a report submitted to the Government of India. Explosive chemicals exceeding the norms in intensity, quantity and size were used to raise the decibels, the report said.
The festival organisers ignored the basic rule that the shed for storing fireworks should be located at least 100 metres away from the display site. The Explosives Act clearly mentions the size of the rockets (‘amittu’) that burst into colourful patterns as they progress through the sky from one stage to another. But the seize of the rockets used at Puttingal was almost 10 times above the prescribed limits. The standard size of the iron barrels used for launching the rockets is 8-10-12. Nearly half of the long barrels should be below the ground and be firmly fixed by tying them with iron rods used in concrete.
These rules were not followed at Puttingal. In fact, a barrel tilted during the rocket launch and instead of going up it went straight into the shed where a huge pile of fireworks was stored. The Kerala High Court has banned the use of high-decibel crackers and fireworks display after sunset in places of worship across the state in the wake of the temple fire tragedy in Kollam that has claimed more than 110 lives.