Not learning a lesson or two from fire tragedies taking place across the world, the Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to enact Fire Force Act – the law that makes it mandatory to install fire safety gadgets in the public and private establishments.
If official sources are to be believed the absence of fire safety law has made its watchdog department a toothless tiger whose occasional roar is at best a whimper in the face of blatant disregard to even a basic regimen to minimize damage in case of an exigency.
In absence of the Act, the J&K Fire and Emergency Services department- supposed to be the enforcement body- acts as a toothless tiger when it comes to enforce   the fire safety guidelines for hotels, cinema halls, shopping complexes, multi-storey commercial establishments.
The  startling revelation about the absence of Fire Force Act in Jammu and Kashmir came to fore in reply to an RTI application filed by an RTI activist Balvinder Singh from Jammu. He had sought information about the number of Cinema Halls which had approached for the issuance of No Objection Certificate (NOC) from Fire and emergency Services Department in year 2010-11, 2011-12.

fire safety
The Department, in reply, has maintained that the office only issues necessary recommendations with regard to the fire protection and fire safety measures before construction/existing functional cinema hall after conducting fire audit and spot inspection of the site.
“There is no stringent enforcement as on date in absence of Fire Force Act, as such the office issues only technical recommendations regarding fire safety measure, whosoever approaches department for the same” the department maintained.

Not learning a lesson or two from fire tragedies taking place across the world, the Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to enact Fire Force Act – the law that makes it mandatory to install fire safety gadgets in the public and private establishments.
It stated that the NOC was given only when the owners approached the office with the plea that the recommendations were complied and necessary fire protection measures have been adopted in line of guidelines/provisions of NBC part-1V issued by the department.

 

Fire and Emergency Services clarifies that except Indira Theater in Jammu, no other cinema hall   has got NOC from Fire and Emergency Services Department in year 2010-2011 and 2011-12, adding that the department has not given NOC to any other cinema hall in Jammu.

 
About the fire preventive arrangements made by the hotel owners, the department said that six hotels   Hotel Trident, Hotel Neelam, Hotel Sumit Palace, Hotel Red Rose, Hotel Novelty, Hotel Jammu Air Lines had approached for NOC from the Department.

Not learning a lesson or two from fire tragedies taking place across the world,the Jammu and Kashmir government has failed to enact Fire Force Act – the law that makes it mandatory to install fire safety gadgets in the public and private establishments

However, none of these hotels have installed fire protection/ preventive measures in their hotels as was found when the  construction was completed and inspected was done , the reply   said, adding that none of the hotel owner have approached the department for inspection after seeking guidelines from the department.
The department further says that there was no stringent enforcement law as on date, as such these recommendations were not taken seriously by the owners. Sources in the department on the condition of anonymity said that at majority of hospitals, petrol stations, schools do not have fire extinguishers. He said that the department only advises them about their usage but it can not force them as the Act was not given preference in state.
Pertinently there seemed negligible adherence to the preventive measures due to absence of Fire Force Act in the state and according to the preliminary report prepared by Jammu and Kashmir Fire and Emergency Services last year, the safety measures were “almost found negligible” in 157 hospitals, nursing homes and health centres of the state.

 

URL: http://www.greaterkashmir.com/news/2012/May/7/jk-has-no-fire-safety-act-81.asp