Are coaching centres in Ludhiana adhering to fire safety norms? MC survey to find out
Area of buildings, their compliance with bylaws, emergency exit points under inspectionUpdated: Dec 12, 2019 22:26 IST
More than six months after the Surat coaching centre tragedy wherein 22 people were killed in a major fire, the Ludhiana municipal corporation (MC) has finally swung into action and began a survey of coaching centres at tuition markets of the city.
As per the information, directions to conduct the survey have been issued by the Punjab local bodies department. The survey began around a week ago and building branch officials of all the four MC zones have been asked to submit the report to municipal commissioner Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar.
Under this survey, MC’s building branch officials are inspecting specific points, including area of buildings, bylaws compliance, number of students studying in coaching centres, hoardings and hanging wires, fire-safety norms, fire exits and availability of parking space among others.
The tuition markets in Model Town extension and Kitchlu Nagar are sitting on powder keg with inadequate fire-safety measures in place and only a single congested entry and exit point. Some of the owners have also violated building bylaws and many SCOs (shop-cum-offices) have been clubbed to increase the area of coaching centres.
It was a narrow escape for a family of four, including two senior citizens, after a fire broke out at a coaching centre in Feroze Gandhi market in May 2018. As the escape route was blocked with flames and smoke, the victims were stuck on the top floor of the building. Tragedy was averted as the firefighters managed to rescue them in time.
As per one of the MC officials, not even a single coaching centre owner has made proper fire-safety arrangements.
Despite repeated attempts, comments of municipal town planner (MTP) Monica Anand on this issue could not be elicited, though municipal commissioner Kanwalpreet Kaur Brar confirmed that they were acting on the directions of the local bodies department. “The staff have been told to conduct field inspections and prepare a report regarding the anomalies. The survey is going on and I am yet to receive the report of building branch officials,” she said.
A large number of coaching/tuition centres are operational in the residential areas, primarily Model Town, Model Town Extension, Madhopuri and Shimlapuri.
However, the civic body is focusing only on the coaching centres located in markets or commercial areas.
The fire brigade is struggling without hydraulic ladders, a tool that can prove to be a lifesaver. Tall claims were made by chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh and then local bodies minister Navjot Singh Sidhu after the 2017 plastic factory tragedy, but firemen still do not have safety gears to save themselves during fire-fighting operations.
Though the Ludhiana civic body has initiated a survey of coaching centres, the fire audit of industrial and commercial units, which was announced by the chief minister in 2017, still hangs fire.
Several industrial and commercial establishments are being run without adequate fire-safety arrangements and explosive material is also been stored without getting consent from the administration.