Chandigarh municipal corporation has failed to conduct any effective drive to check fire safety norms at buildings in the city. Only four buildings -- three in Sector 34 and one in industrial area -- have been sealed in the past four years for violation of fire safety norms.
Though the MC has issued 500 notices to violators in the past one year, it hardly took any further action.
Station fire officer SK Gosain said, "We have issued 500 notices to violators in the past one year and have sealed four buildings in the past four years. We regularly check their compliance; in most of the cases, the violators comply with fire safety norms."
On the other hand, MC fire and emergency services committee chairman MP Kohli said, "It is unfortunate that even four months after the new civic body was elected, not even a single meeting of the fire service committee has been called. We fail to understand why they send notices when they do not take any further action. I will take up the issue in the next house meeting, as it is a serious issue."
In December last year, after finding violations of fire safety norms at hospitals, eateries and other business establishments, the fire department of the municipal corporation had issued eight notices under the Fire Safety and Prevention Act, 1986.
At these establishments, the fire safety equipment was not found in working condition and the entry and exit points were not separate, but none of them faced any further action.
Speaking to HT, additional commissioner-cum-chief fire officer Lalit Siwach said, "We regularly conduct checks on all important buildings and from time to time issue them strict instructions.
During the recent inspections, there were a number of private commercial buildings that had adequate fire-fighting arrangements. We do not issue NOCs to the buildings in case we find violations in them. Recently, we did not issue the NOC to a mall-cum-multiplex in Sector 17 as it flouted the norms.
MC's own building violates norms
Interestingly, the MC is not bothered about the violations at its own building in Sector 17. In a survey conducted by the HT team, it was found that most of the fire extinguishers installed in the building were past the expiry date. Interestingly, the fire extinguishers installed in front of the rooms of the mayor and the MC commissioner were also past the expiry date.
Even the lift, which was installed in 2008 in the building where around 600 employees work, has not yet started functioning.
Electricity wires hang loose, rooms have been created using wooden partitions and there are violations galore in the basement of the building. The violations have mostly gone unchecked and have been increasing.
In most such rooms, loose wires can be found. Electricity wires surround the fire extinguisher placed near these rooms. A number of rooms are stacked with papers and files that reach as high as the roof. In case of a fire, the combustible material would facilitate its spread.