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Allahabad city business hubs waiting for another tragedy
In the past six months, about 10 major fire incidents have been reported wherein properties worth crores of rupees have been damaged beyond repair. Unfortunately, all of them present a grim picture when it comes to presence of fire safety equipments.

THE MASSIVE fire at Kharbanda market in Civil Lines area on Thursday (21 July 2012) night has proved to be an eye opener for the officials of police and fire department to check out the status of over two dozen markets whether they have adequate fire fighting arrangements or not?

The fire that destroyed properties worth several crores and even claimed life of a woman has left the officials worried and forced them to chalk out an effective strategy to check the status of fire fighting arrangements in all prime market locations and 36 high rise buildings of the city as well. The city has several markets and commercial establishments at Civil Lines, Chowk, Katra, Ghantaghar and also some small markets are considered a hub of auto parts and dress material with an annual turnover that exceeds Rs 1,500 crore.

However, all of them present a grim picture when it comes to fire safety norms. In the past six months, about 10 major fire incidents have been reported wherein properties worth crores of rupees have been damaged beyond repair. Recently, fire broke out at a namkeen making unit in Kareli area as this unit was running in dense populated area. Police officials admit that prime market areas like Katra, Ghantaghar and Chowk are located in dense populated area and there should be adequate fire fighting arrangements to check an eventuality.

Experts said the shops at dense populated area are sitting on a ticking time bomb. Surprisingly, there were no traces of fire safety equipments. The traders at most of the markets said some of them have effective fire extinguishers, but they have no idea as to how to operate it. Pointedly fire fighting equipments are kept locked. More or less, the entire market spots rely on the services of fire department if there is a fire incident. Here, about 50 % buildings have fire safety equipment, but they cannot be used at the time of emergency because of inadequate water supply and rusted equipment like pressure valves.

Fire department officials admit that in most of the cases, fire in markets takes place due to short circuit. For that, they have been asking shop or godown or showroom owners to check the electric supply status as well as keep fire fighting equipments. Chief fire officer Satish Chandra said, “We have been regularly interacting with owners of shops, godowns and advising them to install advanced fire fighting arrangements. We have also been holding mock drills and other similar exercises to brief traders or others about the measures required to douse flames or control fire before it could take a massive form.”

Not only urban areas, officials of fire department are also advising rural folks about the measures that are helpful in controlling fire in fields. With extended summer season, cases of fire breaking out are reported at frequent intervals even from rural sectors. On Friday (22July 2012) itself a fire broke out inside a house located at Muir Road and firefighters took about half an hour to control the fire, informed the officials.

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