Neither the visitors nor the shop owners are aware of any fire safety arrangement made by development agency Delhi Development Authority (DDA).
The crowded markets in Dwarka are known for its hustles and bustles. People enthusiastically visit these markets to fulfill their daily requirements. However, they have little idea that these markets do not have any fire contingency plans in place.
Neither the visitors nor the shop owners are aware of any fire safety arrangement made by development agency Delhi Development Authority (DDA). People said that they have absolutely no idea about the dedicated water pipes to control fire.
In Dwarka, most of the market places are on Mixed Land Use (MLU) located adjacent to the societies. People in the market said that there was neither arrangements from the DDA at the beginning nor the associations are bothered about the fire fighting infrastructure in any of the MLUs in the sub city.
“On one hand, majority of people at the markets are unaware about any arrangements. Some shop owners have fire extinguisher for their own shops. According to the norms, a shop having 100 feet floor should have underground fire fighting arrangements while the shops less that should keep small extinguishers .But, these are seldom followed. Neither the shop owners are aware nor the authorities take the matter seriously,” said Ravindra Singh a shopkeeper at Sector 12 Market.
It is really a good luck that any big fire incident has not been seen in Dwarka. Small fire incidents have been seen where fire brigades were called to control the situation. Some incidents happened in the eateries at the ground floor while some at the other floors due to short circuit.
Recently, an incident of fire happened at the ground floor in a food joint at Sector 10 market which was controlled by the fire brigade. But, that incident exposed that if not informed on time, it could have been serious.
According to DDA building laws for MLUs, cooking is not allowed at the ground floor. But, almost all MLUs in Dwarka have eateries at ground floor and most of them are without any fire fighting system.
The conditions of markets in Sector 4, Sector 6, Sector 10 and Sector 12 are very serious as many food joints are at ground floor. Not only this, but, also eateries cook food by using gas cylinders at the back side of the markets and also vacant spaces. Also, the restaurants are mostly at second and third floor. Most of them are not equipped with fire fighting system.
In almost all the markets, there is also no emergency exit in place. Visitors and the shop owners are least bothered or unaware about the need of fire fighting system. SK Singh, a resident of Sector 5, said, “The three agencies are responsible for mismanagement and vulnerability of the market for fire incident.”
“Municipal Corporation is responsible for encroachments and DDA is responsible for its carelessness. Disaster management department and fire department are responsible for not monitoring the market for fire safety. Agencies must take stern action against anyone violating the norms. This is a serious issue and must be addressed on priority,” added Singh.
In the MLUs, the electrical circuits are placed under stairs. Mostly, the fittings and boxes are in bad shape and naked wires are there. Such things have led to many small fire incidents in the markets.
“Mostly, there is only one staircase in the buildings of the markets. If, a fire incident happens, then, there is no escape for the people at the other floors. Also, the roof tops are mostly locked by the influential people and in worst case that too is not accessible for escape. Once, a fire incident happened in Sector 11 due to open naked wires at staircase. We helped the students studying in coaching institute by taking them to roof top by breaking the lock,” said a market person of Sector 11 on the condition of anonymity.
Civic agencies like DDA, South Delhi Municipal Corporation and the Fire Department are reluctant to say anything on the poor fire fighting arrangements in the market areas. None of the officials from any of these departments were clear on the subject. Now, it can be imagined how serious these authorities are.