March 2018
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Forest fire: Trekking organiser's office found closed
(Chennai, Mar 12, 2018): A 'volunteer' organisation that is believed to have arranged the ill-fated trekking expedition of a 36-member group in Theni district in which nine people were killed has been found closed here, police said today.

Nine people, who were part of the trekking expedition, were killed in a forest fire in the Western Ghats.

Police said a couple of officials were deputed to make enquiries at the office of the group at Palavakkam here, but found it to be closed.

The website of the organisation also did not have details of those managing its affairs.

Splashed with photographs of trekking by various teams, some clean up drives and adventure pictures besides references to some social initiatives, the website, however, did not mention of any contact number.

The 'Contact Us' column merely gave out an e-mail id while the group claimed itself to be a "non-profit, volunteer based group which organises outdoor, sports, environmental conservation and social activities throughout the year on weekends and weekday mornings".

It claimed having 40,000-odd members and that all its activities are "free (and) expenses shared equally among participants."

Of the 36 members in the ill-fated trekking team, 24 were from Chennai and 12 from Tiruppur and Erode districts, and they reached Kurangani hills on March 10. The team included 25 women and three children.

Among the dead, six were from Chennai and three from Erode.

The details of number of female and children among the casualities, if any, was not available.

The trekkers after staying overnight at an estate in Kozhukumalai in the region had commenced their return journey to the plains yesterday morning.

Kurangani-Kozhukumalai hills in the Western Ghats are located near Bodinayakanur, about 40 kms from Theni

Theni district is located a little over 500 kms from Chennai.(PTI)

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