Fire safety audit hangs fire

Educational institutes, coaching centres, PGs, sans fire safety arrangements

Harshraj Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, February 22

Despite a number of major fire incidents in the city, no efforts are being made to check violations of fire safety norms in buildings. A large number of educational institutes, coaching centres, PGs, factories, commercial complexes and other high-rise buildings have no fire safety arrangements.

When 16 persons, including nine firefighters, were killed in the fire at a plastic-manufacturing factory in 2017, the MC authorities had announced that they would carry out an audit to check fire safety arrangements in various buildings. But no measures have been taken to check the violations in the buildings. It seems the departments concerned are waiting for a disaster to happen.

It is required to mention that the Punjab Fire Services officials had earlier claimed that they would conduct checking of the buildings once the Fire Directorate was set up in the state. An official claimed that they could conduct checking of buildings only after the directorate is set up. There is also a shortage of staff with the fire services.

An RTI activist, Baljeet Singh, said: “The emergency exits and fire safety arrangements are unavailable in a number of commercial buildings, factories, hospitals, schools, colleges and other structures in the city. Moreover, the fire safety arrangements are missing in most of the government offices. The government should take up the matter seriously and get a survey done to check violations in buildings. If the building owners failed to ensure fire safety arrangements, required action should be initiated.”

Senior Deputy Mayor Sham Sundar Malhotra said there was a need to check the fire safety arrangements in buildings. He would take up the matter so that a survey of buildings should be started at the earliest.

Despite repeated attempts, assistant divisional fire officer Bhupinder Singh could not be contacted for comment.

No check on high-rise buildings of old city

Questions are also being raised over the role of the MC as many newly constructed buildings are being occupied without fulfilling the norms. There is no check on high-rise buildings in the narrow lanes of old city. The illegal storage of harmful chemicals in godown and factories are being ignored too.

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