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Monday, May 23, 2022

Surat coaching centre fire: After tragedy, clampdown on coaching centres across cities

Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) issued an immediate notice to about 152 coaching centres in the city to shut shop until they acquire NOCs from the fire department.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad |
Updated: May 25, 2019 1:43:52 am
Surat fire, coaching centre fire, Gujarat fire, Vijay Nehra, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, Indian Express At least 10 fire tenders were pressed into service to bring the blaze under control. (Express Photo)

In a knee-jerk reaction to the massive fire incident in Surat Friday, municipal corporations across Ahmedabad and Vadodara issued orders to close all coaching centres in these cities till further orders, while Rajkot civic body went a step further and directed its officials to seal all such premises where fire-fighting equipment was not in place. The Gandhinagar administration, meanwhile, will begin inspection of all coaching centres and libraries on Saturday.

Ahmedabad: All coaching centres shut till further orders

Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Vijay Nehra has issued orders to close all tuition centres in the city till further orders.

“These will remain closed till the owners comply with Building Use (BU) norms, get a fire No Objection Certificate (NOC), install all safety equipment and employ trained manpower to operate them. Harsh action will be taken against those violating these norms,” Nehra said.

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He added that since these are not registered with the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, they do not have any data regarding them. “We are sourcing and collating the data from different sources like education department. We are sourcing the data from other departments since the education department did not carry out its inspection of the coaching centres in December-January by trained staff,” he said.

Ahmedabad city Police Commissioner A K Singh, however, ordered all private tuition centres, dance classes and summer camps to remain closed for two months, from May 24 midnight to July 23.

On the other hand, Rajesh Bhatt additional fire officer said that the fire department will not be able to conduct surveys since these centres are already closed for summer vacations. “We will start an inspection drive from tomorrow (Saturday), however, fire officials will face a fundamental problem. In the wake of the Surat tragedy and ongoing summer vacations, we will probably see the coaching centres shut with their owners missing from the spot. In such a scenario, it will be difficult to inspect whether the centres are following all fire safety norms. The education department, along with estate department, must come up with a public notice stating that on such and such date, officials will be visiting the centres and all owners must be present,” said Bhatt.

Gandhinagar: Inspection of coaching centres to begin

Gandhinagar district administration has decided to start inspection of all tutorials, training centres and libraries from Saturday to check the compliance of fire-safety and town-planning rules. Gandhinagar Collector S K Langa said that they are forming teams, comprising officials from the fire services, town planning and revenue departments to inspect all these establishments. “Legal actions like sealing or closure will be taken against any violation of rules. We will also take the help of the elected representatives of the concerned area in this exercise,” he said, adding an awareness campaign will be launched, asking guardians not to send their wards to any such establishment that lacks safety measures.

Vadodara: Notice issued to 152 coaching centres

Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) issued an immediate notice to about 152 coaching centres in the city to shut shop until they acquire NOCs from the fire department.

Municipal Commissioner Ajay Bhadoo also warned of action in case of violation. Bhadoo said they have a list of 152 centres. “We had prepared the list about 10 days ago after completing a survey for fire safety. We had issued notices to them to acquire the NOC and many have already applied for it. Out of the 152 centres, only about 7-8 had a fire-safety audit conducted. Given the tragedy that has befallen on Surat, we have asked them to immediately get their audits done and remain close until that is done.”

According to the VMC, there may be more coaching institutes in the city. The VMC teams are continuing with the survey.

Bhadoo said that the civic body will also survey other sensitive establishments like schools and hospitals. “We will look at other buildings and commercial establishments to check their preparedness for fire accidents and their safety audits.”

As per the Vadodara fire department, the centres will be sealed if there are no fire safety system and NOC, cable duct is not sealed at each floor, there is modified construction after obtaining the BU permission, staircase is not ventilated or obstructed and cannot be used during emergency and if there is illegal construction.

Rajkot: All commercial units violating fire norms to be sealed

Hours after the fire incident in Surat, Rajkot Municipal Corporation launched a flash audit of fire-safety measures at private tuition centres in the city and issued orders to seal those premises where fire-fighting equipments were not in place.

“Rajkot Municipal Commissioner Banchhanidhi Pani has ordered that the tuition centres where the fire-safety equipment in not in place will not be allowed to function. Such tuition centres are being shut down with immediate effect and will not be allowed to reopen till the time they comply with the fire-safety norms,” an official release issued by the RMC on Friday evening stated.

Pani said that they would enforce the fire-safety norms strictly in the city. “One month ago, we had issued notices to the commercial premises in the city to install fire-safety and fire-fighting equipments. Thus we have given them enough time. If anybody is found wanting now, we will seal the premises now. We have ordered the fire department to start checking such buildings from this evening,” he said.

The municipal commissioner added that the exercise would not only cover the tuition centres, but restaurants and other places where commercial activities are conducted in basement or terraces. Blocked staircases and non-functional fire-control systems will also be checked.

Besides being the largest city in Saurashtra-Kutch region, Rajkot is also an education hub. Private coaching centres have proliferated over the last two decades, but the municipal commissioner said they did not have any exact count of such institutes.

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