It takes a tragedy for MC to wake up

  • Monica Sharma, Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
  • Updated: Jun 10, 2014 14:29 IST

The UT administration swings into action soon after a major disaster occurs: recommendations are rolled out, inquiries are held, and compensations are announced for victims. But as soon as a month or two passes, the administration is back to their “normal” self.

The fire at Sector-22 market opposite the Sector-17 bus stand in 2009, in which four persons died due to suffocation, is a testimony to this. A visit to the spot reveals that there are no lessons learnt. Loose wires hang from electric poles and the parking is chaotic. The fire which was caused due to a short-circuit had spread because of violations in the building.

Ram Parsad, who owns a shop in the market, said, “There was a short circuit in the corridor around two days ago, but the situation remains the same. The traders have made so many changes and alterations according to their convenience, that it is too late to take any remedial measure now.”

A web of wires welcomes you as you enter the showrooms on the first and second floors. There are alterations within the buildings with smaller kiosks carved out of them. The entry and exit of the shops are same, even though the fire department has been asking shopkeepers to come up with at least one separate entry and exit in the building to help in case a fire breaks out.

The corridors are choc-o-block with make-shift structures of food rehris with no space for fire tenders to reach shops due to haphazard parking.

The scene is no different at Sector 17 where the fire broke out on Sunday. A building right opposite the National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT) has made a number of changes with wooden doors covering iron grills. Out of the three entry and exit points, only one has been left open, while the others are blocked.

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