Whither fire safety! How safe are Dwarka markets
New Delhi: The fire tragedy of Anaj Mandi has thrown up several questions for the system about the safety of markets and public places in the National Capital. Death of innocent has compelled the community to sit back and take stock of the fire safety measures implemented in the the market places.
During a reality check in the markets of Dwarka, CitySpidey came across many a loophole in the fire safety infrastructure.
Dwarka is said to be one of the most planned sub cities of Delhi developed by the Delhi Development Authority (DDA). But a closer look at its infrastructure and disaster management mechanism and you would be surprised to find that the markets here are the most unsafe places, vulnerable to fire.
However, the onus does not lie with the authorities alone. Shopkeepers and caretakers of the markets are equally responsible for lack of fire safety in the commercial centres. They are the ones who have made matters worse by grabbing fire space and not bothering to go for firefighting systems.
Lack of awareness about firefighting
Neither shoppers nor the shopkeepers are found aware of any such arrangements. A few shop owners do possess fire extinguishers for their shops. But, for the building that houses the market as a whole, there is no arrangement to address the issue of fire safety.
According to the norms, a shop having 100 feet floor should have underground firefighting arrangement while the shops with less than that space should keep small extinguishers ready for use.
An RTI activist and a resident of Sector 22, Rejiment CK said, “Who cares about safety measures. Neither the DDA nor the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) is bothered about this mandatory requirement. But, in an ideal situation, there must be a strict check on it.”
Violation of the law
The markets in Dwarka, which have faulty infrastructure, where violation of fire safety norms laid down by the DDA for the buildings is rampant. Though there has not been any big fire incident in the area in past, some small fires were reported off and on which could be contained thanks to timely response of fire brigade.
Some incidents happened at the eateries at ground floor while others at some upper floors due to short circuit. Some incidents also occurred on the stairs due to short circuit in naked wires and fitting in the stairs.
As per the DDA's building bye-laws for mixed land use (MLU), cooking is not allowed on the ground floor even if in the whole of Dwarka, there are hundreds of eateries operating under in MLU most of which are without any firefighting system as defined in the norms applicable to such shops.
The condition of Sector 4, Sector 6, Sector 10 and Sector 12 markets is pathetic where many food joints are located on ground floor cooking food even in corridors by encroaching the area. Not only this, the backside of the markets like in Sector 10 and 6 is being used in violation of the rule for cooking.