Fire-safety norms ig­nored in eight Maha cities: CAG re­port

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - HT Cor­re­spon­dent ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­ Ku­nal Puro­hit ku­nal.puro­hit@hin­dus­tan­

The state gov­ern­ment has with­drawn its pro­posed ‘no hel­met, no fuel’ rule, af­ter stiff op­po­si­tion from petrol pump own­ers and own­ers of two-wheel­ers. The gov­ern­ment, how­ever, has put in a con­di­tion that makes it manda­tory for petrol pump own­ers to col­lect de­tails of rid­ers who buy petrol with­out a hel­met and pass it on to the lo­cal Re­gional Trans­port Of­fice (RTO).

Based on the in­for­ma­tion pro­vided by the petrol pump own­ers, RTO of­fi­cials are ex­pected to act against the vi­o­la­tors. Petrol pump own­ers, how­ever, have op­posed this too and have sug­gested that the gov­ern­ment in­stall CCTV cam­eras on their premises and act against er­rant rid­ers.

The ‘no hel­met, no fuel’ rule was to come into ef­fect from Au­gust 1, but the petrol pump own­ers had op­posed it cit­ing safety of their em­ploy­ees. Chief min­is­ter Deven­dra Fad­navis had on July 28 stayed the de­ci­sion, af­ter even the op­po­si­tion par­ties had called the move ‘im­prac­ti­cal’, in the state leg­is­la­ture.

Clear­ing the state’s stand on the pol­icy, trans­port min­is­ter Di­wakar Raote said on Fri­day that in­stead of re­fus­ing fuel to those not wear­ing hel­mets, petrol pumps will have to pro­vide us the ve­hi­cle num­bers of the vi­o­la­tors.

“We won’t take any such re­spon­si­bil­ity that could be­come a flash­point be­tween our em­ploy­ees and the rid­ers. Also, it will be dif­fi­cult to sub­se­quently prove vi­o­la­tions based on our re­port and may lead to dis­putes,” said Ravi Shinde, pres­i­dent, Mum­bai Petrol Deal­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion. “We have sug­gested that the gov­ern­ment in­stall CCTV cam­eras at their own cost and mon­i­tor feed from the RTO.”

In a stark re­minder of how unsafe are our cities, a new Comptroller and Au­di­tor Gen­eral of In­dia (CAG) re­port has re­vealed how fire safety norms are ig­nored in eight cities, in­clud­ing Mum­bai, in Ma­ha­rash­tra. Other cities men­tioned in the re­port are Thane, Navi Mum­bai, Nashik, Pune, Au­rangabad, Am­ra­vati and Nag­pur. The re­port states that be­tween 2010 and 2015, 78% of the amount re­served for up­grad­ing fire-fight­ing sys­tems was un­spent, re­sult­ing in a se­vere short­age of equip­ment and in­fra­struc­ture.

In case of fire ten­ders, which play a cru­cial role dur­ing fire­fight­ing op­er­a­tions, the CAG noted that there was a 78% short­age The CAG re­port rapped the state gov­ern­ment for re­fus­ing to learn from its mis­takes, which led to the Mantralaya fire in 2012.

in the eight cities, se­verely af­fec­tion the abil­ity to tackle fires. The num­ber of fire sta­tions in the cities was also way be­low what is re­quired.

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