Patiala, June 3
Many commercial buildings, especially the high-rise cafes and bars on third and fourth floors, flout basic fire safety norms and lack evacuation routes.
As per experts, fire incidents at places flouting safety rules could lead to fatalities.
Many business owners have failed to install fire safety equipment and seek certificates from the Municipal Corporation. In a majority of buildings on Bhupindra Road, top-floor cafes and bars openly lack fire evacuation routes.
Notices issued to defaulters
We have started activities in relation to proper implementation of fire safety norms. Business owners, who have failed to make necessary installations, are being issued notices. We will act further as per the directions of the Municipal Corporation. —MC official
According to corporation officials, lack of stringent provisions in the National Building Code of India (Part 4), most business owners have failed to get fire safety certificates. “In a majority of cases, local politicians come to the rescue of these building owners,” an MC official said.
Officials at the MC fire wing said they have started issuing notices to business owners for failing to install fire safety equipment and getting the requisite sanctions. “However, until strict action is initiated and hefty penalties are imposed on the defaulters, not much is expected to change,” an MC official said.
Another senior MC official said, “We have started activities in relation to proper implementation of fire safety norms. Business owners who have failed to make necessary installations are being issued notices. We will act further as per the directions of the MC.”
Officials at the corporation say they carry out periodic reviews and a sustained drive will be launched to check all such buildings. “We cannot allow innocent lives be lost because of fire incidents,” an official said.
Recent fire incidents
On May 20, a fire broke out at an eatery near railway crossing number 22 after a blast early in the morning. The eatery and some nearby shops were completely gutted before the fire tenders reached the spot. All products in the shops were destroyed in the blaze.
On May 25, A fire broke out at the Administration Block on the Punjabi University campus in the morning, leading to loss of important records and documents in the building. With the building containing papers and computers on all floors, the fire spread rapidly and caused severe damage before the fire tenders could reach the spot and douse the flames.
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