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Fire outbreaks surge as regulators fiddle

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  14 Sep 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Apartments in Guwahati give Fire department NoCs the go-by, increasing fire risk manifold

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Sept 13: Lack of compliance to regulations and lax monitoring has led to growing incidents of fire in the State.

The number of fire outbreaks jumped from 176 in 2001 to 728 in 2014, according to the State's Fire & Emergency Service.

In 2014, the department received 4,241 fire calls. A total of 181 persons were killed during the year in fire outbreaks, while 25 persons were injured. Properties worth over Rs 64 crore were damaged in the incidents during the year.

In 2013, 127 persons lost their lives and 27 injured in 691 major fire outbreaks that damaged properties worth over Rs 130 crore. In 2001, there were only 176 fire outbreaks in which 34 people had died.

The rise in the number of fire incidents is alarming and most of the outbreaks were related to short-circuits and cylinder explosions, the Fire & Emergency Services said.

Officials say a majority of apartments and houses in the city do not have the no-objection certificate (NOC) given by the Fire department.

"Before construction of any apartment, the builder has to seek the requisite permissions from the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) and Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC). Along with the application, the builder has to also apply for NoC from the Fire department. The Fire department officials first approve the plan and then issue the certificate, following an inspection after completion of construction," an official said.

The NoC from the Fire department is required while applying for the Occupancy certificate issued by the GMC. However, most of the apartments do not have occupancy certificate.

Both the GMDA and GMC share the blame for failing to create awareness among the people about fire safety.

During the summer, use of electronic equipments like fans and air conditioners is more. This causes overheating of wires and multiple connections at a single plug point, result into overheating of the socket which causes a short circuit, a Fire department official explained.

Carelessness is another factor. People do not maintain their LPG gas pipes properly. There have been instances where people have forgotten to turn off the gas knob which resulted in a fire outbreak.

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