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Delhi: Government buildings in city violating fire-safety rules

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Delhi: Government buildings in city violating fire-safety rules

The Delhi Fire Service has sent a letter to the engineer-in-chief of the Public Works Department (PWD) to ensure that fire safety certificates are issued to these buildings.

Many government buildings in the heart of the Capital have shown no or very little regard for fire safety norms, Mail Today has found in the wake of a massive fire that broke out at the building housing the Directorate General of Health Services' (DGHS) office in East Delhi's Karkardooma area on Friday.

The Delhi Fire Service has sent a letter to the engineer-in-chief of the Public Works Department (PWD) to ensure that fire safety certificates are issued to these buildings. The letter, possessed by Mail Today, said a number of government buildings have not issued the mandatory No Objection Certificates (NOC) due to shortcoming of fire safety system.

Mail Today has sort out a list of the government building without the NOC available on the websites of Delhi Fire Service. These buildings include Shastri Bhawan, Indraprastha Bhawan, Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, CGO Complex to name a few. "We are much concerned about the government offices and have sent letters to the authorities to ensure their fire fighting systems and NOCs. The DGHS building did not possess NOC and the firefighting equipment were not working at the time of the operation," said chief fire officer Atul Garg.

A massive fire broke out at the sixth floor of the building housing the DGHS office in East Delhi's Karkardooma area on Friday. However, no casualty was reported in the incident. The Fire Department received a call at 1.50 p.m., following which 22 fire tenders rushed to the spot. More than 60 fire personnel took nearly 4 hours to douse the fire. This summer, the city is also grappling with rising blaze cases. In February, March, April and May, the numbers were 65, 72, 102 and 106, respectively.

In the first 13 days of June, the daily average was as high as 121. Most cases were triggered by AC malfunctioning, electric shortcircuits and safety norm violations - often in factories on Delhi's outskirts. On February, 17 died in a fire in a Hotel in Karol Bagh. On May 27, the Delhi government changed building rules to enhance fire safety in hotels.

There are a total of 3,195 posts sanctioned for fire officials but 1,495 are vacant. Also, 59 out of 90 stations run without station officers. Of the 44 posts sanctioned for senior officials, 10 are vacant. On Sunday, the Delhi government inducted 60 new fire tenders taking the total number of vehicles in the Delhi Fire Services fleet to 280. The Fire Department responds to 30,000 calls every year. During peak summer, it gets 150-200 calls per day. Delhi home minister Satyendar Jain said the fire department responds in 20-25 minutes and "the government wants to bring this down to 10 minutes".

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