Around 80% government-run hospitals in Delhi do not comply with basic fire safety measures, said a performance audit conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
Hospitals such as Deen Dayal Upadhyay (DDU), Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) and Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) do not have basic safety infrastructure required for buildings that attract mass attendance, the report said.
“In RML hospital, the compartmentation was not in accordance with the set standards. Compartmentation is a system of using specific doors to prevent the spread of fire or smoke to other parts of a building. In DDU hospital, the public address system was not functioning,” the audit said.
DDU hospital was found to be lacking in many areas. Apart from a faulty public address system, the emergency power supply in DDU, as well as in GTB hospital, was not functional, water for fire-fighting was not available and the emergency exit gates were found to be locked.
In RML hospital, the emergency exits were narrow. At the PGI block in RML, the fire-fighting systems were not functional and no fire staff was appointed.
“Most of these buildings either did not have a fire clearance for all of its blocks or did not get a renewed fire safety certificate from the Delhi Fire Services for years,” the report read.
The issue of the lack of fire clearance was taken up by the Delhi High Court earlier this year. Many hospitals got away by showing clearances only for certain building blocks.
The Delhi Fire Service issues safety certificates after the applicant follows a12-point proforma to declare if the fire safety measures have been followed.
The proforma includes requirements such as a six-metre approach road, water storage tanks, automatic sprinkler system, hose reels, automatic fire detection/manual alarm, and emergency power supply, etc.
The performance audit of 2009 had pointed out shortcomings in the process of issuing no-objection certificates (NOC) and adherence to fire safety norms. This year’s audit saw a similar laxity in the operations.
“We received a list of observations that were made in the CAG report, especially with respect to hospitals. The fire stations have started the process of re-inspecting the hospital buildings and action will be taken against defaulters,” said a senior fire official.