The populous and narrow rehri markets across the city are far from prepared when it comes to dealing with a fire emergency.
A tour around the markets in Sector 15, 19 and 22 is all it takes to see that they are no less than an open invitation to disaster.
Even though major fire incidents have been reported from Sector 19 and 22 markets in the past, they still don’t have adequate arrangements for dealing with a fire incident.
The markets do not have sufficient supply of water to douse even minor flames. Bags and drums of sand are nowhere to be seen reflecting how seriously traders take guidelines issued by the fire and emergency department. In some of the make-shiftmarkets, loose wires with naked joints make the area susceptible to fire. One such area is the Sector 18 make-shift market offering electrical equipments.
Narrow passages between and extensive use of electrical appliances in some of the booths, along with cooking gas, make them fire-prone.
To add to the problem, traders have covered passages with plastic or fibre sheets. These shops store things of all kinds, including dress material and food. A majority of shopkeepers are using their roofs, from where electricity wires pass, to store stuff, further posing danger.
The Sector 22 and 19 markets remain congested most of the time with large number of people buying goods at reasonable rates.
There are no separate exit and entry points in these markets, due to which the possibility of a stampede in case of a fire cannot be ruled out.
Even though the municipal corporation has been urging traders to keep the passage clear, they continue to encroach them.Station fire officer ML Shar ma said, “market traders have been told several times to install fire extinguishers in their shops and make proper arrangements to tackle a fire emergency, but to no avail.”