Nearly 60 per cent of the buildings in the eight corporation areas across Gujarat did not renew or were not issued their fire safety No Objection Certificates (NoC), the state government said.
The state government’s admission came while submitting an action taken report (ATR) to the Gujarat High Court on October 21 regarding fire safety measures being implemented in the state. The submissions were made owing to the court’s order in a public interest litigation moved by advocate Amit Panchal, in the aftermath of the Shrey Hospital fire tragedy, wherein a purported short circuit had killed eight Covid-19 patients in the hospital’s ICU ward in August.
In Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), only 8,400 out of the over 27,300 buildings had been issued fire NoC, while 18,900 other buildings do not have a fire NoC — either they were not issued one or their earlier NoCs were not renewed.
In Gandhinagar Municipal Corporation, less than 20 per cent of the 700 buildings have a fire NoC while the remaining 587 buildings continue to function without a fire NoC. Surat, where the Takshashila fire incident in 2019 had killed 22 students, currently has over 10,500 of the total 17,800 buildings with fire NoCs.
Rajkot Municipal Corporation was the only urban local body where all 103 buildings had fire NoCs. The ATR also stated that the AMC also issued a circular on September 19, prescribing eligibility for “immediately making appointments in 99 posts of firemen and 8 posts of stretcher bearers.”
Earlier, Panchal, in an affidavit, had submitted that of the total 670 positions sanctioned by the AMC, 182 positions were vacant, which include posts for deputy chief fire officer, divisional fire officer, sub-officers, leading firemen, driver-cum-pump operator and firemen.
Panchal had submitted details of sanctioned posts which were left vacant in fire departments across municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Surat, Vadodara and Rajkot. As per the advocate’s affidavit, across the four municipal corporation areas, nearly one-fifth of the sanctioned posts remain vacant.
The state has now submitted in the ATR that its urban development and urban housing department has issued a communication dated October 6 to all eight municipal commissioners, issuing specific directions with regard to filling up all vacant posts of fire department and “more particularly of firemen on emergent basis.” The state government has also directed the municipal commissioners to “give an explanation as to what steps have so far been taken for filing up the vacant posts of the fire department.”
According to the state’s report, the municipal commissioners have also been directed to effect enrollment of firemen safety officers with requisite qualifications, for taking care of installed fire protection system, conducting mock drills, certifying and intimating the fire department for various buildings, schools, hospitals, etc.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines