Sunday, September 19, 2021
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Safety regulators must do an honest job

In our country, the authorities and the officials and the government too, wake up only after a catastrophe occurs and in which innocent human beings get killed. We have been witnessing several fire mishaps and house collapses and many other such accidents, from time to time. We also ultimately come to know that such accidents could have been well prevented if necessary precautions had been duly taken. However, such measures are never taken. In many such cases we only find that such severe accidents had occurred solely due to gross violations of certain important provisions that are statutorily required to be followed. In the case of fire, the high rise buildings, hotels and restaurants etc., many a times, do not keep or maintain certain basic requirements. Similarly, a building collapse happens when again there is violation of rules concerning construction or expansion of structures.

All these happen solely due to  precautions and basic safety requirements that  are never  adhered to because the government officials or authorities attached to municipal and state department bodies like fire department, houses inspection and repair department etc. never carry out  periodical inspections of such ” probable killer sites”. They never go through the whole premises to find out the violations and thus gauge the mishaps that would occur anytime.  These officials mostly prefer to turn a blind’s eye to all such violations. And this is again mainly because they get carried away by the “royal treatment” they get by the “benefactors”. The officials do not want to carry out detailed inspection and send a report on the true status of buildings remaining in dangerous conditions. As they are easily “bought” and as they themselves are not interested in doing a complete job, the violations continue and basic norms are flouted and never remain in place. All these, then, one day result in a serious mishaps and accidents in which poor civilians get killed and seriously injured, as we saw very recently in a few major fire incidents.

The solution or remedy lies in the state government asking the departments like fire safety, building inspection and repairs, lift inspection etc. to be regular in inspection and do an honest job when it comes to point out serious violations and flouting of basic safety norms. Above all the state government should punish these officials if it was found that they were conniving with the building owners, premises owners etc to ignore inspections and violations. In fact we have never heard of any official from the fire or the BMC being held responsible for not carrying out periodical inspections and presenting an honest and open report on the status of such buildings in dangerous conditions. They must be severely held responsible if NOCs are given for massive renovations of premises, in gross violation of structural norms, or where fire safety measures are not in place.

Let them not wait for series of serious accidents or catastrophes to happen, after which they all start the “blame game”.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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