Illegal factories in congested lanes of Delhi’s Sudarshan Park a ticking time bomb

It took more than 24 hours to douse the fire that broke out at Chandni Chowk’s Bhagirath Palace marketplace in the Capital on November 24. The fire damaged 150 shops and led to the collapse of four buildings, according to the Delhi police. Traders at the spot estimated the value of the

destroyed goods in crores.

Hanging wires, overloaded circuits, old buildings, water shortage and narrow lanes have created hurdles for the fire department and their equipment. However, fortunately no lives were lost in this incident.

But West Delhi Moti Nagar’s Sudarshan Park’s narrow and congested lanes are a ticking fire bomb for workers as many illegal factories are running in the area under the nose of the civic authorities. The workers are left with no choice but to work in these illegal factories in perilous buildings to earn a livelihood. Some of the workers are even living near these small units or on the top of such facilities.

In 2019, seven lives were lost when a gas compressor in a unit at Sudarshan Park area blew up and took seven innocent lives. All were workers, away from their native place, here in the Capital to earn a living.

Till date the factories are operating with no NOC or safety equipment.

These seven lives could have been saved had the municipal authorities acted on several complaints lodged with them.

Residents claimed that complaints regarding the building were made several times and even the building, which claimed seven lives, was declared dangerous by the SDMC but the factory was still functioning.

Also, residents claimed that an illegal factory in the area was sealed by authorities four days before the incident occurred.

Municipal authorities claimed that 670 units had been sealed or were found vacant when their team visited the area.

“We don’t have any other option other than to work here. At least we are able to get one square meal a day for our families,” said Niranjan, who works in a shoe factory in the area.

Despite knowing the risks of working in such an environment, the workers here never voice their concern as it is their only source of income.

“A majority of the workers here are from outside Delhi. If they say anything or ask for a salary hike from the owner, they are fired on the spot,” said a resident, Sunil Kashyap.

This is not the only illegal unit in the area. Basai Dara Pur —

cramped, dirty and jumbled — in the Sudarshan Park area in Moti Nagar has several small illegal factories in two or four-storeyed houses.

(Shekhar Singh can be reached at shekhar.s@ians.in)

20221204-125803

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