The fire safety has taken a back seat in the portals of state Administration and legislature so much so that both face major fire risks. In the event of a fire in any of the blocks, major devastation is anticipated in view of heavy dumping of electronic garbage and waste materials in all the corridors.
Fire safety officials say that 23 prominent government complexes including hospitals, secretariat, Assembly, DGP office and also civil supplies and commercial tax bhavans, are prone to fire accidents. 'Just a match stick would be sufficient to do huge damages' they said.
Both the state secretariat and the Assembly appear to be sitting on a ticking fire bomb. 'It is just luck and providence that every day is passing through without any hazard' says a senior fire safety executive. Commenting on massive abuse of regulations, loose wiring, dumping of garbage every where he said 'Sometimes I wonder, whether this is Secretariat or a dumping yard'.
A majority of the blocks in the secretariat, including the Samatha block where the chief minister’s office is located, and others face heavy deficit of fire safety equipment.A minor fire can engulf the entire block and reduce it to cinders in hours as offices, waste paper dumps and electoral wiring and AC systems are a total mess. Huge food waste is giving room for massive hordes of rodents and consequent damage to fire and A/c installations.
Similar is the case with the Legislative Assembly and DGP office buildings,both of are corridors of law and order, power management and governance. Incidentally both the complex across the Musi river drainage canal have been identified as hubs of insects, mosquitoes, snakes and rodents.
Fire department officials admit that some blocks in the secretariat are not provided with fire safety equipment and in some equipment dont work.
In the light of the massive fire that broke out at Maharashtra mantralaya building in South Mumbai on Thursday, in which five persons died and dozens received burn injuries, state chief secretary Pankaj Dwivedi held an emergency meeting with fire officials and discussed safety measures. The meeting threw up several surprises to even the CS, who is due to retire in a few days by month end.
The GAD officials said in new blocks like D and H fire safety equipment has become defunct for want of regular maintenance.
The Samatha block which has the offices of the chief minister and the chief secretary and the general administration department (GAD) does not have proper fire safety equipment.
In May, 2009, a fire broke out in D block. Though no loss of life was reported office records and furniture worth several lakh of rupees were gutted.Several employees were trapped inside the building and fire personnel and police had a tough time rescuing them. Immediately after the mishap, the state government directed the fire service department to inspect all the blocks in the secretariat.
Officials who conducted a fire safety audit found several lacunae in almost all the buildings. They submitted a report to the government recommending installation of fire safety equipment and others safety measures. Unfortunately, government failed to act on the recommendations.
As per rules, fire drills have to be conducted, equipment to be services,fire staff to go for training sessions and, finally fire audit taken every three months. 'But none such thing has happened since 2007' says a senior official in the secretariat.
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