Odisha: Over 3,000 buildings in Puri lack fire safety measures!

Puri: The major fire that broke out at Samrat Market Complex on Grand Road here recently has set the alarm bells ringing as over 3,000 buildings in the pilgrim town lack fire safety systems.

The flames were doused by fire services personnel after striving for more than 36 hours. Although properties worth lakhs of rupees were gutted, no casualties were reported in the incident.

Fire prevention and safety norms laid down by Puri Konark Development Authority (PKDA) are being flouted. Much to the chagrin of local residents over district administration’s unusual delay in taking appropriate action against the violators has raised many eyebrows.

“Around 3,000 buildings including Dharmashalas, hotels, lodgings and other business establishments do not possess an adequate fire safety certificate. If the district administration cooperates in this regard, we will be able to take requisite steps,” Puri district fire officer Pradeep Kumar Rout stated.

“The Fire Services department had conducted a verification drive and identified that at least 300 such institutions are eligible, of which only 13 applicants have obtained the fire safety certificates. Those who were previously accorded the certificates for house planning purposes as per the PKDA norms, have in the meanwhile, converted their residential houses to motels and lodgings,” Rout further said.

It is pertinent to mention, Puri Bikash Parishad had filed a written complaint before State Human Rights Commission in 2019 demanding action against the persons who violate fire safety norms.

The human rights body had sought a status report from the erstwhile Puri Collector. In turn, the Puri Circle deputy fire officer submitted his report to the Collector on June 14, 2021. The status report was forwarded to the Commission on August 24, 2021, wherein it was mentioned that the Executive Officer of the Puri civic body, holding tax section and tax collectors were directed to take action at their ends.

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