Less than 15 metre-wide lanes and flanked by buildings, encroached by vehicles, makeshift shops on either sides and overhanging wires, Shaheed Nagar locality in Sahibabad area is primarily a residential colony. Over a year ago, a three-storey building had been taken on rent for running a sewing unit. On Friday morning, 13 employees of the unit died in a fire which allegedly started due to a short circuit.
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“No permission had been sought for running this unit. We have received information that many such small factories are operating in the locality. A committee has been formed to look into it,” said Nidhi Kesarwani, district magistrate, Ghaziabad.
In a span of 15 days, the committee 1 comprising ADM City, chief fire officer, officials from the pollution control board, electrical, industry and labour departments — will conduct a survey, identify such commercial units and suggest action against them,” added Kesarwani.
Even as the administration announced measures to prevent such an incident, locals of Shaheed Nagar claimed no police officer or district administration official had visited the area to inspect these units in the past.
“At least 20 such factories must be running in this area but no official has ever come here to crack down on such units. Due to this negligence, when the fire broke out today morning, fire tenders could not reach the
spot on time because lack of space. Why didn’t they do anything about this earlier?” asked Nazeem, a resident of Shaheed Nagar.
Police, meanwhile, said the cause of the incident was under investigation. Affirming that the manufacturing unit was unauthorised, Salmantaj Patil, SP City, Ghaziabad, said, “Prima facie, it looks like the fire was caused by a short circuit. An investigation is being conducted. All such units in the area will be identified and a list will be given to the district administration.”