Charanjit Singh Teja
Amritsar, May 29
While private shopping malls and shopping complexes follow fire safety rules and keep all equipment updated, shopping centres being managed by the government are without fire safety equipment and infrastructure. Most of the markets developed by the Amritsar Improvement Trust, Amritsar Development Authority and Municipal Corporation don’t have fire safety infrastructure.
There are some markets in the congested areas such as Dharam Singh Market, near the Golden Temple, where not a single fire extinguisher is available. As the market is located in the walled city adjoining the historic mosque and Katra Ahluwalia, there should be proper arrangements for fire safety. There are a few banks, an insurance firm office and government offices in the building. In case of any untoward incident, the narrow stairs and small corridors of the market building can prove a hindrance in the rescue operation.
Ramzan, a resident of a nearby area, said: “There are a number of electric transformers in the street behind the Dharam Singh Market. In case of any fire incident like the one that occurred at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, there would be a major damage. The historic mosque lies just behind. The authorities should take safety measures.”
Similarly, the main Nehru Shopping Complex market also lacks proper fire-fighting system. The Amritsar Improvement Trust (AIT) had installed the fire safety equipment around 20 years back here. A few fire extinguishers and hose pipes are there, but all lying defunct. The three-storey market has covered corridors and houses a large number of electronics, computer and mobile shops. In case of any fire incident, there is nothing to tackle it.
Pawan Kumar, an employee at a shop in Nehru Sopping Complex, said: “Though the market is open from three sides and has a parking facility, it will not be easy to tackle any fire incident on any working day. There should be fire-safety equipment for quick response to any untoward incident.”
Lovepreet Singh, Additional Divisional Fire Officer, said: “It is true that private malls and buildings are more equipped than government-managed markets and buildings. The government should also review the fire safety arrangement of its buildings and markets. The firefighting infrastructure should be installed in every market to minimise the risk.”
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