Hyderabad: Telangana Minister for Welfare Koppula Eshwar Tuesday directed officials to take measures on a permanent basis to prevent fire accidents in social welfare hostels in the state.

The minister's response came in the wake of the death of a nine-year-old girl due to asphyxiation and burn injuries in a fire caused by a short circuit at a state-run girls hostel at Khammam Sunday night.

The minister directed that teams be formed with authorised electrical engineers and fire safety officials to check fire safety in 15 days in social welfare hostels, an official press release said here.

Steps would be taken as per the findings of the checking process, he said.

Eshwar, who expressed anguish over the death of the girl student, asked the director of SC welfare department to issue orders increasing the ex-gratia from Rs two lakh announced Monday to Rs five lakh, the release said.

The government is ready to provide funds to take measures for the prevention of such accidents, Eshwar said.

Two girls were hospitalised with breathing problems after thick smoke engulfed the hall at the hostel at around 11 PM Sunday, where 20 girls were sleeping.

All the girls were rescued except the nine-year-old, a fourth standard student, who died on the spot.

Police suspected the short circuit was caused due to rain, following which a fluorescent light burst and sparks fell on a bed, resulting in flames and thick smoke engulfing the hall.

Eshwar had asked the director of SC welfare to conduct a thorough inquiry into the accident and submit a report. (PTI)

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