Even as Chandigarh MC is gearing up to observe the fire safety week from April 14 to 20, it seems the fire wing of the civic body is awaiting for some disaster to happen in the city, as despite the 2009 house approval to demarcate fire zones in the parking lots of markets, nothing has been done so far.
Also, the fire department has not conducted any mock drill in any of the markets for over a year. At present, there are nearly 24 prominent parking lots in the city.
The fire wing has failed to inspect the fire safety norms in buildings. The MC served 500 notices in the past one year, and only four buildings, including three in Sector 34 and one in the Industrial Area, have been sealed in the past four years for violationg fire safety norms.
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 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 upkept for the past three years, allowing vehicles inside the demarcated area. The motive of the demarcation was to facilitate easy approach to fire tenders."
Nominated councillor and, MC's fire and emergency services committee chairman MP Kohli said, "The officials concerned are least bothered about it. Vehicles can be seen parked in haphazard manner, leaving no space for the fire tenders to pass."
However, MC chief engineer SS Bidda said, "Three years ago we demarcated the area in the parking lots of Sectors 22 and 19, but now the yellow lines have dimmed. We will soon start marking them again and extending the practice to other parking lots."
One of the parking stand contractors in Sector 34 said that he was unaware of any such move.
On the other hand, MP Kohli said, "It is very unfortunate that in the last 15 months only two meetings were held. I will raise the issue in the next house meeting."
The fire safety week is celebrated to create awareness among people regarding fire safety norms. In the week-long programme mock drills and mock fire evacuations are conducted.
On June 6, 2012, a fire broke out at Haryana industrial department in Sector 17; important records were gutted.
On June 16, 2012, a fire broke out at the UCO Bank at the Bank Square in Sector 17; manual and computerised records were destroyed.
On October 22, 2012, a fire broke out in the basement of the Bank of Baroda in Sector 22; valuable records were gutted.
In December 2012, a fire broke out at the Nirman theatre in Sector 32 when a movie show was underway and a major tragedy was averted as only 10 people were watching.
On January 22, a 52-year-old tailor was charred to death in a fire that broke out on the first floor of shop-cum-office in Sector 17.
On March 17, a major fire had broken out in room number 702 on the seventh floor of the Punjab civil secretariat at Sector 9, gutting a large number of official documents.
Important phone numbers
Chief Fire Officer - 0172- 5021423
Fire station, Sector 17- 0172-2702333, 2703507
Fire station, Sector 11- 0172-2747820
Fire station, Sector 38- 0172-2690523
Fire station, Sector 32 - 0172-2648610
Fire station, Mani Majra- 0172-2734656
Fire station, Ram Darbar - 0172-2642111
Fire station, Phase 1 Industrial Area- 0172-2655816