Most fire tragedies can be averted if building owners and businessmen who run factories apply for a Fire No Objection Certificate, but most of them don’t.
Over 50,000 factories are operating in the Capital, but most of them are running without NOCs and even the basic fire safety equipment they must mandatorily have in place in their premises.
Rule 33 of the Delhi Fire Service Rules lays down that a person needs to have a Fire NOC before running a factory in any building. This Fire NOC is only given when the building is equipped with all the important fire safety systems.
A senior Delhi Fire Service official said that people don’t apply for it and invite fire incidents which cause the deaths of their employees and workers.
In May this year, as many as 27 lives were lost after a major fire broke out in an office in Outer Delhi’s Mundka.
It was considered as one of the deadliest tragedies that the national capital witnessed in recent years. The four-storey building was gutted in the fire. This incident sparked a nationwide controversy.
Before this in December 2019, around 44 persons were burnt alive in another fire that broke out in Anaj Mandi. In January 2018, a fire broke out in Bawana’s illegal firecrackers factory which claimed the lives of 17 persons.
In both the cases no NOC had been obtained from the fire department. There were no exit gates in the premises making their operations illegal.
To avoid fire incidents and deaths the Delhi Fire Department has taken a few major steps. It provides a No Objection Certificate to run a factory in the Capital. However, most of the factories don’t apply for the Fire NOC and run their business quietly.
The fire officials say that generally it is the duty of the building authorities and the civic agencies to decide whether to let factory owners run their business or not, and they refer the cases to them to decide what will happen in case of a fire.
It is seen that in most of the cases the building where a fire broke out had no fire safety standards. It was also found that they did not apply for a NOC before the authority concerned.
The fire official said that rising temperatures and population are also becoming a major problem for them.
“We are all set to upgrade the Delhi Fire Service. The DFS is constantly upgrading itself both technically and manually, but the rising levels of temperature and population of the workers in these factories are adding to the woes. Every year lakhs of poor people come to Delhi to improve their living conditions and get trapped in these factories as workers,” said a fire official.