Fire safety norms flouted, officials seek stringent laws

The fire safety norms are being violated with impunity in markets, commercial as well as government buildings in different parts of the city. Apart from issuing notices, there is little that the Municipal Corporation has been able to do. In the past few months, the civic body has issued hundreds of notices. But violations continue unabated.

Officials of the Fire Wing claim that more than 90 per cent of the buildings served notices are tinder boxes. There are numerous violations. With the violators seeking repeated extensions for rectification and the rules permitting for the same, there is little action that is taken against the violators. As a last resort, buildings can be sealed, an action that is rarely taken.

A visit to any of the markets shows numerous violations. In case of fire incidents at the markets that have happened in the past, the most common problem faced by the fire fighters has been lack of access. Hoardings block the windows and balconies. At places the balconies have been covered and are being used as a space for storage. Partitions have been made illegally within the buildings. The partitions are made of flammable material and have been the cause of spread of fire in several cases. The fire zones that were to be created in the parking lots of the markets to provide unhindered access to fire tenders are also missing.

Arvind Jain, president of the Market Association in Sector 22, asserts that no lessons have been learnt from the past incidents. "Apart from shops, the government buildings also violate fire safety norms. There is a lack of action due to which violations continue. Lives of people are at risk," he says.

Whether it is the rehri markets or multi-storey showrooms, there are violations galore. In the rehri markets, electricity wires hang loose and entry and exit points are not clearly specified. Clothes and other items hang along the walls, making it easier for fire to spread. In the showrooms as well, problems persist. The Fire Wing has served notices on a large number of showrooms in Sector 17 for installation of fire-safety equipment.

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