Up in flames! Govt needs to make its own buildings safe and set an example- June 23, 2012
Some shocking finds about the Mumbai Mantralaya Fire that has killed 5 and injured more and took over 12 hours to douse. The building that houses the Chief Minister’s office and is the seat of power for the state of Maharashtra, now stands rather gutted.
1- No fire officer was present when the fire tenders reached
2- The fire tenders could not access the building because of badly parked vehicles outside!
3- Fire alarms and sprinklers were defunct
4- The last fire audit took place in 2008 and suggestions went unheeded. “The report mentioned 32 potential hazards such as civil and electrical defects, encroachment due to parking of vehicles in open space around the building, files and old records strewn on the floors, storage of scrap material on all floors, and use of cylinders for cooking on some floors”, according to an RTI activist named Anil Galgali
It is unforgivable for government offices to flout safety requirements, considering it is supposed to regulate and ensure implementation of laws and codes related to safety. When people died in the Uphaar cinema fire in Delhi way back in 1997, citizens were mad. The legal proceedings still carry on. The builder, Ansal, has been in a tight spot, even jailed for the negligence in terms of fire safety.
As far as I am concerned, someone should take the Maharashtra government to task for negligence as well. People died, were severely injured and a public building stands ruined. Public funds will be needed to refurbish/redevelop it. A conviction will send shock waves to governments across Indian states and cities, urge them to pay heed to the upkeep of public infrastructure. They should be setting an example really!