Visit at your own risk, most Dwarka markets lack fire exit
The fire that broke out Anaj Mandi in Delhi on Sunday morning left 43 dead. If the victims trapped in the building inferno safe passage, the toll in the incident would not have been as big. The tragedy raises the question of fire exit in the buildings of the National Capital.
When a reality check, CitySpidey found that almost all the markets in Dwarka lack passage for evacuation or emergency exit. It's either non-existent or closed or encroached upon. Both the civic authority and the people in the market are responsible for this violation. Since rooftops are mostly locked, a free passage from one building to another either grabbed or closed.
People at Sector 11 market shared an experience of fire that broke out on the staircase of a block due to naked live wires. People rescued students of a coaching institute there breaking open the rooftop by taking them to the rooftop for their evacuation.
A civil engineering expert, Anuj Sinha, said, “Every building is designed to have a passageway for emergency exit especially in case of an incidence of fire. Also, reserved spaces are earmarked for parking of fire tenders in markets. It is the responsibility of the civic bodies and police to keep such open spaces free so that people could use them to save their lives in an emergency.”
According to the National Building Code (NBC), no electrical wiring or fittings should be left on the staircases. It further lays down that no living space, store or another fire risk shall open directly into staircases.
Also, no electrical shaft, AC ducts or gas pipe etc. shall pass through or open in the staircases. Stairs should be supplemented by lifts and ramps. But here in the markets in question, one can see a rampant violation of such codes.
“Such things are serious and must be taken that way. Never any electrical fittings or wirings or any such hazardous things should be left on the staircases. This is because these could trigger fire,” says Anuj Sinha.
Besides such things, the stairs in the markets are also not up to the set design and parameters. The measurements of the stairs are mostly lesser as defined by NBC.