Bhopal: Spate of fire incidents in the city this month have exposed the vulnerability of the various urban structures in the city which go without adequate fire safety arrangements. The official estimate the number of fire incidents to be 80 for this month.

In one such incident a disaster was averted on Sunday evening as timely control of fire which broke out at the furniture showroom in Kolar area prevented it from spreading it to nearby private hospital. Notably the fire at Bairagarh which had gutted goods worth crores, in December had prompted the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) to serve over 600 notices to the commercial buildings including hotels, malls and hospitals.

However, less than 10 per cent of the building owners have procured a no-objection certificate (NOC) so far and the notices remain majorly unheeded. BMC officials rued that lack of fire safety measures have been identified in most of fire incidents where it has intervened so far. But there is little that BMC can do than to serving notices to the offenders in the absence of a Fire act.

Once the notice is served it is up to the building owners to upgrade fire safety arrangements inside their premises. There is nothing which provides for penalty or any other legal action against the offenders. Rameshwar Neel, fire officer in the Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) said that only few of the building owners have procured an NOC by setting fire safety arrangements in place.

Others have not responded in response to BMC’s notice. Bhopal Mayor Alok Sharma when contacted said that he will raise the issue in the next meet with mayors of other cities and will chalk out a proposal that will be sent to the department of urban administration. This is a serious issue and we will not leave any stone unturned in getting a fire Act to the civic body, he added.

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