Puja pandals in Ranchi give fire safety norms a go-by

  • Sanjoy Dey, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
  • Updated: Oct 16, 2015 15:42 IST
An idol of Durga being taken to a puja pandal in Bokaro on Thursday. (Krishna/HT Photo)

The puja committees seem to have thrown safety norms to the wind as none of the pandals here have cared to seek a no-objection certificate from the fire safety department.

According to the fire safety officials, none of the puja pandals in Ranchi had applied for NOC till Thursday.

There will be roughly 250 big and small pandals coming up in the city and its outskirts by Monday.

Ranchi Mahanagar Sri Durga Puja Samiti president Ravindra Verma said: “There are far too many safety parameters to adhere to. However, we do try to fulfill most of the requirements.”

He said the organisers had begun applying for the NOCs.

However, of the four fire stations in the state capital, three of them said they had not received any application till Thursday. “Neither we have received any application nor we have issued any till date,” said Lakshman Prasad, in-charge of Piska More fire station.

The fire safety department says every year guidelines are issued to the puja organisers to use cotton material for construction of pandals but they don’t follow them. Use of synthetic material is common in all the pandals in Ranchi, which could cause fire disaster any time.

Concerned over the careless approach of puja organisers towards safety and security measures, district disaster management office has decided to begin an inspection of puja pandals across the city from Saturday.

“We are setting up zone-wise teams comprising fire, electricity officials and local police personnel. The team would check safety measures in pandals in their respective zones,” said Manoj Singh, district disaster management officer.

He said the pandals would be inspected on safety measures and pandals should be built away from petrol pumps.

The state disaster management department has issued 15-point guidelines to the deputy commissioners asking them to inspect the pandals on those bases to avoid untoward incidents.

“Puja committees have been asked to install a well-defined crowd management plan to avoid any stampede-like situation,” said state colonel Sanjay Srivastava, project officer of disaster management department.

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