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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

‘Mantralaya fire could have been easily avoided’

Vaishnavi Vasudevan, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 10, 2013
First Published: 00:25 IST(10/3/2013) | Last Updated: 00:27 IST(10/3/2013)

Despite five deaths, many injuries and extensive damage to the building in the fire that erupted in June last year, experts believe that Mantralaya hasn’t learnt its lessons yet. While Saturday’s fire caused minor damage to the structure, experts are clear that the fire could have been avoided had due precautions been taken.

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The fire broke out during repair of damages caused by the previous fire. A barrel full of polymer in concentrated form caught fire after a spark from the pedestal fan. While official spokespersons from Unity Infraprojects, the contractor responsible for the makeover, have denied any charges of negligence, officials have said that the blaze was caused due to negligence while carrying out the work.

Pankaj Joshi, an architect, said, “There is urgent need to form and adhere to new codes of fire safety. Although such incidents can happen on any construction sites, they can be easily avoided if basic fire safety precautions are followed.”

“Basic norms to be adhered by an ordinary residential building are also not followed in Mantralaya. It is shocking that the authorities are still not seriously following the safety rules,” said Alpa Seth, earthquake advisor, Gujarat State Disaster Management Authority.

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