The Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) on Monday cracked the whip on establishments that lack fire safety. In all over 2400 shops and buildings were sealed for failing to get a fire NOC. Several hotels, offices, and hospitals were also among those that were sealed.
Earlier, the fire department had surveyed commercial buildings, godowns, hotels, and others to know how many lacked adequate fire safety measures. Buildings that lacked adequate fire safety were issued a notice.
But several buildings and offices continued to ignore the notices and on Monday the SMC raided the places and sealed it for violation of fire safety norms.
The Takshashila incident and fire safety
Twenty students were killed and 16 others injured after a massive fire at a coaching centre in Takshashila Complex in the Sarthana area of Surat. Later it emerged that the SMC had reportedly sent notice to the authorities of the complex to fire safety norms in place which was ignored by the management of the building. Several students jumped from the third and fourth floor of the building in a bid to escape the blaze and getting killed or injured in the process.
The high court on fire safety
Earlier in March this year, the Gujarat High Court had asked the state to take immediate action against 5,199 schools that lack a valid and subsisting NOC about fire prevention and protection systems. The division bench of Gujarat High Court said that “fire safety in schools is often a neglected element in many Indian schools and there are no rules that are set in place for checking this aspect”.
The government doesn’t enforce fire safety and most schools still function without even the basic safety amenities, it said. “If no steps are taken in this direction at the earliest, then the court may be compelled to ask the state government to cancel the recognition of such schools.”
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