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Cramped coaching institutes leave students vulnerable

chandigarh Updated: Jun 17, 2014 12:23 IST
Monica Sharma
Monica Sharma
Hindustan Times

One of the most crowded places in the city - coaching centers, which cater to a large number of students from the city and outside - give two hoots about the safety of students.

These centres, which have mushroomed in the city over the years with growing awareness and competitive spirit among students, are far from ready to face a fire emergency.

A visit to the institutes reveals that they need immediate lessons in making their buildings fire-safe.

Such centres are common in various sectors, including Sector 19, 20, 34, 36, 37, 40 and 46.
A majority of them do not pay any attention to fire-safety norms, which is evident from the fact that most of these buildings have a single entry and exit point.

More than a f ew of t hese institutes are situated on the first floor or above. As these centers are always filled to capacity, the possibility of a fire incident leading to a stampede cannot be ruled out.

The authorities concerned in the municipal corporation (MC) admit that these institutes have 100 to 300 students simultaneously cramped in small classrooms separated by wooden partitions. A single entry and exit point puts the students’ lives in danger in case of a fire in which they would have to run down the narrow stairs.

As showrooms are not designed to accommodate a large number of students, they have narrow staircases. To make matter worse, hardly any attention is paid to fire-safety equipment at these institutes.

Coaching classes are provided for engineering and medical courses, along with other competitive examinations, such as hotel management and mass communication. Centers coaching students to take IELTS too are not uncommon to the problem. A survey of the centers depicts that very few centers have sprinklers or fire extinguishers.

The fire department officials say notices are issued wherever violations are noticed, yet they have failed to act as a deterrent. The institutes have been asked to carve out separate entrances, but hardly anything has been done in this direction so far.