New Delhi, July 6 (IANS): The Public Works Department (PWD) Sunday said it will allot…
HT Correspondent, New Delhi: The fire at Uphaar Cinema in Green Park killed 59 people and injured 109. The
then fire chief, SK Dheri, suffered a fall and was hospitalised for three months. Nineteen years hence, Delhi hasn’t learnt its lessons on fire safety. On Thursday, a fire gutted a factory in Narela. HT spoke to Dheri to understand what puts citizens and the firefighters in harm’s way.
What has changed since the Uphaar tragedy?
We still have not learnt any lessons. There are so many high-rises that are ticking time bombs, but no one cares. Ultimately, it is the firefighter and the occupants of the building who suffer. Whenever such an incident happens, the firefighter is declared as a martyr and compensation is given to his family. That is alright, but what about avoiding disasters?
The licensing authority has to ensure that the buildings have proper exits and sufficient windows and space before clearances are given. But who cares? If a tragedy occurs, then the liability should come on them. Delhi Fire Services keeps sending notices to these buildings to follow norms but they are usually ignored. The community approach towards safety is pathetic. It is the temperament that needs to change.
What should the government do?
There are a lot of provisions in the enactment but they are not enforced. The rules to give out licences to buildings should be very stringent.
These disasters can be easily prevented if licences are given out after thorough checks… The government is supposed to make sure that the rules are enforced..
Read: Ill-equipped and underpaid, Delhi firefighters dodge death every day
What are the risks that firefighters face when they go for an operation?
From the time they step onto a fire engine, they do not know if they will return home.