To ensure that incidents like the fire that led to the death of 22 students at a coaching centre in Surat are not repeated in the state, the Maharashtra Class Owners Association (MCOA) on Saturday held a conclave to discuss precautionary steps that needed be taken.
Members of the fire department and the disaster cell also attended the conclave and spoke about several security measures that coaching centre owners could implement. Many owners, however, found some of the measures impractical.
Sachin Karnavat, president of MCOA, said that fire department and disaster cell officials from the city and 800 members of MCOA attended the conclave on ‘Fire Safety of India’. “The fire department wants two staircases, different entry and exit doors in coaching classes. These things are not possible when it comes to small coaching centres,” he added. Karnavat said that while they are ready to cooperate, the solutions offered should be more realistic.
“We can carry out fire audits, ensure that concealed wiring and fire alarms are installed. But two entry and exit points and two staircases cannot be built now. Even installing a sprinkler is a complicated issue as it cannot be set up by an individual centre owner. It is the collective decision whether to install water sprinklers or not,” he added.
A member of MCOA said that coaching centres are easy targets. “Soon after the Surat fire, different departments started sending us notices. They have to be practical about their suggestions,” the member added.
On May 24, 22 students were killed and several others injured in a fire at a coaching centre in Surat. The centre was located on the third and fourth floors of Takshashila Complex.