The markets in Dwarka, which were once considered as the most well-planned and designed ones across the national capital, are now in such a dangerous state that it can invite minor, major fire mishaps anytime. Reason? These markets mainly called as MLU (Mixed Land Use) lack the proper infrastructure to tackle fire-related incidents.
Though these were designed to attract and cater to the public in general, poor infra such as the placing of electric points, metres, and connection of wires on the walls adjacent to the small staircases makes the situation more aggravating. Naked and dangling wires, poor fittings are common sights in the markets located in Sector 4,5, 6, 10, 11 and 12.
It is a violation under the National Building Code (NBC) as it prohibits any kind of electric wiring, fitting on the staircases. Further, the code says that no living space or store should open directly on to it. Also, no electrical shaft, AC ducts or gas pipes, etc shall pass through or open on the staircases as these should be supplemented by lifts and ramps. But one could see all sorts of violations in these markets approved and made by the Delhi Development Authority and builders.
Talking to City Spidey, an expert on the subject Gautam Kumar (Civil Engineer) said, “The issue is really serious. Violating the laid norms means inviting grave mishaps. The concern should be addressed immediately as it is related to human lives.”
However, efforts were made in the past to improve the situation but the condition is still the same in most of the markets across the sub-city.
Vishal Gupta, owner of a shop at Sector 5 market said, “The state is pathetic. One has to be really cautious otherwise there are chances of getting electric shock due to poor wiring. I can recall of an incident occurred in 2012 due to poor maintenance. The authority concerned took the matter into its concern and replaced metres and wires in Plot No 13. It is 2019 but the situation has become worse now.”
While discussing the issue, people said that a fire incident took place due to short-circuit in the year 2010.
“The fire was so massive that the students of a coaching centre located in that market were taken to the rooftop,” said Ravi Kumar, a resident of Surabhi Apartments.
Mahesh Gupta, general secretary of the residents' welfare association (RWA) SFS Flats said, “Though there were no casualties reported, the shop owners and the residents should take the matter seriously. Besides, it is the responsibility of the civic body concerned to take proper measures to avoid such incidents in future.”
In this regard, the DDA officials admitted there were basic faults while planning these markets but stated that nothing could be done at present. They added saying the intervention of higher officials can resolve the issue but ironically, they were reluctant to say anything.
Proper upkeep of such markets and accountability of the authority concerned in the case of mishaps are the need of the hour to avert fire-related incidents in Dwarka.