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The tinderbox Capital

india Updated: Mar 30, 2010 23:28 IST
Vijaita Singh
Vijaita Singh
Hindustan Times
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Delhi doesn’t seem to have learnt anything from the Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy in which 59 people lost their lives and scores were injured.

Such is the state of affairs that in the past one year, the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) has found 715 “fire unsafe” buildings, of which 140 are schools, in the city. Notices were sent by the DFS warning these buildings to fix the shortcomings or else their electricity and water supply would be disconnected.

Most of these 715 buildings are located in congested localities like Karol Bagh, Sadar Bazaar, Paharganj and Malviya Nagar. The schools that don’t have no objection certificates (NOC) are mostly located in congested localities like Sangam Vihar, Badarpur, Khanpur, Vasant Vihar and Kalkaji.

“We regularly conduct surprise checks in various high-rises in Delhi. If someone is found flouting norms we issue them a 30-day notice to overcome the shortcoming. If they fail to do so we send orders to disconnect electricity and water supply of the concerned building,” said R.C. Sharma, Chief Fire Officer.

“Most of the high-rises in the city comply with the fire safety norms. For cinema halls, we conduct checks every six months and five start hotels every one-year. All the buildings constructed after 1983 comply with the norms,” said Sharma.

He added that in the past they have sent notices to civic agencies to disconnect water and electricity supply of the unsafe buildings. On an average, the DFS receive 45 calls distress calls per day.

Last year, 380 people died and 2,225 were injured in various fire incidents, according to the DFS. Property and goods worth Rs 5,902 lakh were lost or damaged in fire incidents last year.

In 2004, three people, including two fire officials, died in a fire at the timber market in Kirti Nagar area of west Delhi. The entire market was gutted.

The department has about 7,640 fire hydrants, 302 underground static tanks, two canals and a river in the city from which water is taken during exigencies. The department has a budget of Rs 8,744 lakh.

The DFS has a strength of 3,616 men and is equipped with state-of-the-art fire-fighting equipment.