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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

Industry’s defiance forces Mohali admn to conduct another fire audit

None of the industrial units has submitted self-declaration on fire-safety compliance despite the deputy commissioner’s order.

cities Updated: Aug 26, 2019 21:13 IST
Shailee Dogra
Shailee Dogra
Hindustan Times, Mohali
Despite multiple fire mishaps, majority of industrial units in Mohali district fail to ensure fire-safety compliance on their premises.
Despite multiple fire mishaps, majority of industrial units in Mohali district fail to ensure fire-safety compliance on their premises.(HT FILE PHOTO)
         

Taking note of industrial units’ defiance in declaring themselves fire-safety compliant, the district administration has decided to conduct another comprehensive audit to ascertain their fire readiness.

Following repeated industrial fire mishaps, deputy commissioner Girish Dayalan, after meeting various industry representatives in July, had ordered industrial units in Mohali and Dera Bassi to submit self-declarations on fire-safety compliance.

A month later, the number of submissions are zero. This, despite the Mohali Industries Association (MIA) as well as the Dera Bassi Industry Association hiring a consultant to assist industrial units in putting fire safety measures in place. 

“No one has filed the self-declaration, so we have decided to hold a comprehensive fire audit. We cannot let anyone play with the lives of others,” said Dayalan, who had called a meeting on fire safety on Tuesday.

FIRST AUDIT CAME A CROPPER

A similar fire audit was ordered in January following multiple fires in industrial units. The  audit of around 400 high-rise buildings in Zirakpur and Dera Bassi had revealed that 70% of them lack fire-safety arrangements in line with the National Building Code norms.

Subsequently in June, 131 industrial units were issued notices for insufficient fire-safety equipment. But nothing changed on the ground, as is evident from repeated fires. This is because the fire department cannot do anything beyond issuing notices.

In absence of implementation of the Fire Safety Act in Punjab, the fire department can only warn the violator of disconnection of sewerage and water connection if a fire NOC is not obtained. However, the penal action has to be taken by the local bodies department or the administration.

Although commercial and industrial units require an NOC from the fire department, the audit had found that most of the establishments lacked fire-safety provisions.

Even where fire extinguishers were installed, the staff was not trained to operate them. Besides, owners of many godowns in Zirakpur and Dera Bassi do not bother to renew the NOC every year.

DC ORDER LIES BURIED IN FILES

In January, the then DC, Gurpreet Kaur Sapra, had ordered the deputy director, industries, and assistant labour commissioner, Mohali, to submit a report within a week after inspecting different factories. But the report never came. The departments also failed to draw up a schedule to check industries under their jurisdiction as ordered by the DC.

First Published: Aug 26, 2019 21:13 IST

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