Rajkot Fire Tragedy: Gujarat Govt to Implement Strict New Rules For Amusement Parks And Game Zones

Rajkot Fire Tragedy: Gujarat Govt to Implement Strict New Rules For Amusement Parks And Game Zones

After five long years, the Gujarat government has at last awakened to change its current safety rules by enforcing tougher penalties and guaranteeing responsibility at more higher levels of government.

Melvyn ThomasUpdated: Tuesday, May 28, 2024, 07:37 PM IST
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Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel |

After five long years, the Gujarat government has at last awakened to change its current safety rules by enforcing tougher penalties and guaranteeing responsibility at more higher levels of government.

Following multiple high-profile tragedies including the Takshashila fire in Surat, the Morbi bridge collapse, the Harni lake boat capsize, and the Rajkot gaming zone fire—which combined claimed many lives and exposed serious safety lapses—the Gujarat government seems serious in implementing new rules in the state.

Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, Chief Secretary Raj Kumar, and other top officials decided to amend the Gujarat Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Regulation Act-2016 during a high-level meeting convened in Gandhinagar.

The suggested changes seek to increase the scope of responsibility by including top officials discovered guilty in the execution of their tasks and strengthen the implementation of safety precautions.

The state government is preparing to introduce stringent new rules for the approval of amusement parks, game zones, boating, and ropeways. The forthcoming regulations will necessitate strict adherence, with no room for excuses or delays in implementation.

To ensure these new standards are enforced effectively, the government has directed the formation of a special committee tasked with framing the new rules. This committee will outline the requirements for obtaining two types of certificates for amusement parks and game zones: permanent and primary certificates. These certifications will be essential for the operation of such facilities.

A special website dedicated to the certification process, particularly for fire safety, will also be established. This website will be integrated with various departments, including the Urban Development Department, Home Department, Revenue Department, and Town Planning. By linking these departments, the website will facilitate seamless online approval processes and site inspections, ensuring that all necessary information is readily accessible to officials.

The directive from the state government mandates that the preparation of the new rules and the functioning of the website be completed within the next month. This accelerated timeline underscores the urgency and importance of the initiative.

One of the key changes with this new policy is the elimination of loopholes and manipulations that have plagued the current system. Previously, No Objection Certificates (NOCs) were often just paper formalities, susceptible to manipulation.

With the new system, all relevant details will be entered into the website, providing transparency and enabling departments such as Urban Development, Home, Revenue, and Town Planning to monitor and act on this information promptly.

The revisions will provide clauses for not only severe penalties but also criminal procedures against top officials whose irresponsibility fuels such tragedies. Right now, the law's clause permits disciplinary actions restricted to contractors, manufacturers, or lower-level supervisors. The goal is to make sure the administrative structure is also accountable, therefore encouraging a culture of vigilance and safety.

The realization that current laws, despite their comprehensiveness, are sometimes poorly enforced drives one of the main reasons behind this legislative overhaul. Preventable catastrophes resulting from this disparity in enforcement have often caused the government to look for a stronger framework forcing adherence to safety rules.

Beyond events connected to fires, the new rules will include a wider spectrum of man-made disasters including drowning, electrocutions, and other mishaps caused by human irresponsibility. But unless human negligence is a major element, the scope of the modifications will particularly exclude accidents resulting from natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods, or storms.

By the next monsoon season, the Gujarat administration is ready to present a measure suggesting these changes in the legislature. Legal and statutory direction will be sought to guarantee the new clauses are thorough and enforceable. The main objective is to create an atmosphere in which the risk of man-made disasters is much reduced and safety is the first priority.

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