AFTER NINE persons were killed and over 170 injured when a fire broke out at the ESIC Hospital at Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area in Marol, the MIDC administration on Wednesday ordered a fire audit at all units located on its premises across the state.
The fire department has been given 15 days to complete the inspection and submit a report. Officials will also explore whether units violating fire safety norms can be closed down for non-compliance of norms. Officials said there are 285 industrial areas across the state under MIDC. “We have decided to inspect such units that are mainly into production but do not possess a final fire NOC (no objection certificate). The drive will be held across all MIDC areas in the state. It will focus on units in high-risk zones. First, we will find out how many units do not having a fire NOC. Then, we will issue closure notices to them if norms are not followed,” a senior MIDC official said.
Much-needed step in view of frequent fires
The fire audit of high-risk zone in MIDC premises is a much-needed step. In the last few months, there have been frequent fire accidents in different MIDC areas. Recently, there was a blast in a chemical drum at Taloja MIDC, where two people sustained injuries. Also, a fire in Taloja had killed a labourer. In March, a huge blast in a chemical plant in Boisar had killed three persons. While industrial units are more vulnerable to disaster due to storage of highly inflammable chemicals, they have very poor fire-fighting systems in place.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Chief Executive Officer of MIDC, P Anbalagan, said: “Many production units start operating after getting permission from the pollution control board (MPCB), and they don’t wait for final OCs (occupation certificate) and other things. This exercise will be completed in 15 days, though it may take a little longer as the drive will conducted across the state.”
He added, “After getting data, we will prioritise and parallelly issue notices seeking compliance. The units will be given 10 to 15 days to reply and follow norms. We will also inform MPCB that these buildings do not have OC. The drive will be undertaken with the help of MPCB.”
The ESIC Hospital was operating without a final fire NOC or OC. The MIDC fire brigade had refused to give them a final NOC as there were inadequate fire safety measures.