The Nand Nagri fire incident in Delhi and now the fire that enveloped the AMRI Hospital in Kolkata have become a wake up call for people turning a blind eye to adopting fire safety measures.
Fire officials point out that safety measures are flouted by those erecting temporary shaminas or pandals, as there is no provision for mandatory inspection by fire officials.
Those wanting to erect any temporary structure for an event are supposed to take safety measures themselves and have to simply display an undertaking stating that all measures have been taken. There is no mechanism in place to ensure what has been stated in the undertaking by them has actually been carried out in reality.
“Few years back, fire inspectors were supposed to visit such temporary structures before granting organisers permission.
But later, people started complaining about the lengthy procedure and there were other complaints too about the inspectors.
In the Delhi Fire Act, a provision was later included that such events would not require permission from us and we would also not be required to inspect the place. The onus of taking safety measures lies only on the organiser, who gives an undertaking that he has taken all measures,” said a fire official.
Sources say that because of staff shortage, it had become difficult for fire inspectors to visit each and every structure.
“All such structures are put up in a very short span of time. Hence, most of the fire safety measures are ignored. Sometimes, the structures have only one gate which is a gross violation,” added the official.