5 yrs on, MC yet to demarcate fire zones in city parking lots

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Apr 25, 2015 09:15 IST

Even though the MC observed the fire safety week from April 14 to 20, it seems its fire wing is waiting for some disaster to happen as despite the House approval in 2009 regarding demarcation of fire zones in parking lots of city markets, nothing has been done so far.

Also, the fire department has not conducted even a single mock drill in any of the markets comprising 24 prominent parking lots in the city.

On April 22 late night, two security guards had a narrow escape after fire broke out in the Haryana roadways department at 30 Bays Building, Sector 17. Fire brigade pressed four tenders and a hydraulic ladder truck in service and reached the spot immediately as no vehicle was parked in the area.

The civic body's fire wing has failed to keep a check on the fire safety norms in the city buildings. Around 500 notices have been served in the past one year, while only four buildings, including three in Sector 34 and one in the Industrial Area, have been sealed in the past four years for violation of fire safety norms.

Parking areas of Sectors 17, 19, 22, 34 and 35 are the worst affected areas where haphazard parking is a common phenomenon.

Former mayor and councillor Pardeep Chhabra said, "In 2009, it was decided by the House that fire zones should be demarcated by a yellow line and no vehicle should be allowed inside the area. Though initially it was done in Sectors 22 and 19, it could not be extended to other places. Even in these two sectors, yellow lines have not been maintained for the past four years, thus, allowing vehicles inside the demarcated area. The motive of the demarcation was to facilitate easy approach to the fire tenders."

MP Kohli, chairman, MC fire and emergency services committee, said, "The officials are not doing their jobs seriously. For the past one year, no inspection has been conducted or not even a single notice has been issued in any of the sectors for violations of fire safety norms, which is necessary as per the National Building Code, 2005, and Delhi Fire Prevention Act extended to Chandigarh. The department does not even have a chief fire officer."

Ironically, the committee that was formed after a major fire tragedy in Sector 17B in June last year - a four-storey building was destroyed and two firefighters were killed in the mishap - had also issued a slew of measures, but had not fixed the responsibility of any official.

One of the parking stand contractors in Sector 34 said he was unaware of any such norm.

Pertinent to mention that the fire safety week is celebrated to create awareness among people regarding fire safety norms.
When contacted, MC additional commissioner Sunil Bhatia said, "It's not possible to conduct mock drills in parking lots. However, we held many mock drills in schools and in some high rise buildings."

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