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HomeTrendsRajkot-Delhi Fire Tragedy: Why authorities are negligent towards public lives?

Rajkot-Delhi Fire Tragedy: Why authorities are negligent towards public lives?

Rajkot-Delhi Fire Tragedy: Why authorities are negligent towards public lives?

Rajkot Gaming Zone Fire Tragedy

The exact moment the fire started during welding operations was revealed in a recently discovered video of the tragic fire tragedy in Rajkot, Gujarat, last week. This information is vital in understanding the incident, which claimed the lives of 27 people, including four children, at the TRP Game Zone. 

There are now severe doubts regarding the facility’s safety regulations in the wake of the devastating fire tragedy at a Rajkot gaming zone that claimed the lives of 27 people, nine of them children. According to officials, the amusement park only had one exit and was running without a no-objection certificate (NOC) for fire clearance.

FIRE TRAGEDY
FIRE TRAGEDY

About Gaming Zone

Because tickets for the TRP gaming zone were only ₹99 during the weekend, there was a high volume of traffic to the area. Although officials stated that an investigation is necessary to determine the precise cause of the fire tragedy, it is believed that a short circuit may have caused it to start.

There was only one gate, six or seven feet high, for entry and departure, according to sources. It was also a fire hazard because it contained a stock of 1500–2000 liters of diesel for running generators and roughly 1000–1500 liters of gasoline for go-karting. 

The site was highly combustible due to flammable items such as fuel, tires, fiberglass shades, and thermocol sheet partitions.

What had the Police stated in its Investigation?

At the time of the incident, police observed that the gaming zone lacked the necessary fire safety clearance from the municipal corporation of the city. The police added that although there was fire safety equipment in the game zone, insufficient action was taken to put out the fire.

Reporters were informed by Rajkot Police Commissioner Raju Bhargava that the gaming zone was awarded a booking license by the local police in November 2023. That license was later renewed for one year, ending on December 31, 2024.

“The game zone had received permissions from the roads and buildings department. It had also submitted a proof of fire safety equipment to obtain the fire NOC which was under process and not yet completed,” he said.

The owner and partner of the Rajkot-based TRP game zone, and its manager have been arrested on the charges of culpable homicide.

So far, Rajkot taluka police have booked six persons for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, including Dhaval Corporation proprietor Dhaval Thakkar, Raceway Enterprise partners Ashoksinh Jadeja, Kiritsinh Jadeja, Prakash Chand Hiran, Yuvrajsinh Solanki and Rahul Rathod, as per the FIR.

Newly-wed couple among 27 killed in Rajkot game zone fire

A newly married couple and the husband’s sister-in-law, at least 27 people were killed in a fire at a gaming zone in Rajkot, Gujarat. 

On Saturday night, while celebrating their courtship at Rajkot’s TRP Game Zone with Khyati Svaliwea and her sister Harita, Akshay Dholaria, a Canadian student, perished in a massive fire that destroyed the venue. The couple was supposed to get married in December of this year under Hindu customs, according to Akshay’s family, but they perished in the process.

Following the event, Akshay’s American parents departed for Rajkot. To verify the victim’s identity, the police have requested DNA samples from the victim’s parents.

Newly married couple, bride's sister among 28 killed in Rajkot game zone fire

The officials predict that the death toll will rise.

Government’s Action after the Gaming Zone Fire Incident

The manager and owner of TRP Game Zone were taken into custody by the police following the incident, and a Special Investigation Team was tasked by the state government to look into the matter.

“We currently have confirmation that the fire incident claimed the lives of 27 people. In a media conference, Assistant Commissioner of Police Radhika Bharai stated, “The bodies are so badly burned that it is hard to identify them.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Droupadi Murmu, and Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar all expressed sadness over the incident.

Chief Minister of Gujarat Bhupendra Patel was contacted by Modi to inquire about the rescue and relief operations.

Nayna Pedhadiya, the mayor of Rajkot, announced on Saturday that an investigation would be conducted by the administration to determine how a large gaming zone was operating without the required license.

It’s possible that a short circuit caused the fire to begin. A Special Investigation Team has been tasked with investigating the state government. 

An official from the fire department was quoted as saying, “The cause of the fire has not yet been determined.” The efforts to put out the fire are in progress. Because of the wind speed and the collapse of the temporary structure, we are having trouble fighting the fire.

A team dedicated to special investigations has been formed to look into the fire and provide an initial report by Tuesday. The Gujarat government has instructed officials to conduct inspections at all gaming zones throughout the state in the wake of the Rajkot fire. The gaming areas will stay closed until the inspections are finished.

Harsh Sanghavi, the state minister for home affairs in Gujarat, paid a visit to the FSL Gandhinagar campus on Monday to observe the DNA sample process.


Compensation

Meanwhile, the state government has announced a compensation package of Rs 4 lakh each for the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for every injured person.

Additionally, each deceased person’s next of kin will receive an ex gratia payment of ₹2 lakhs from the Central government.

But will this monetary compensation get back the lost lives that happened due to the extreme Negligence of Authorities?

‘What were you doing’? Gujarat high court raps Rajkot civic body over gaming zone fireThe court also expressed its lack of faith in the state machinery, which only takes action after innocent lives are lost.

The RMC’s lawyer informed the court that the TRP game zone had not sought the necessary permissions, prompting the court to question whether the civic body had turned a blind eye to the construction of such a large structure within its jurisdiction.

A special bench of Justices Biren Vaishnav and Devan Desai heard a suo motu PIL on the incident.

According to the bench, all Rajkot municipal commissioners who oversaw the creation of the game zone in 2021 and the May 25 tragedy “should be held accountable for the tragedy that occurred.” They were required by the court to provide individual affidavits.

The fire tragedy was given suo motu notice by the Gujarat High Court on Sunday, and it was declared a “man-made disaster” at first glance.

The HC observed that the facility had a stock of extremely flammable materials, including gasoline, fibers, and fiberglass sheets.

The RMC’s knowledge of the game zone’s existence was also called into question by the court, which inquired as to whether they had been unaware of the structure for the previous 2.5 years.

“Up until then, you had no idea there was a building like that nearby? Were you unaware that this court had issued orders in a PIL regarding fire safety? At that moment, what were you doing? According to reports in the media, your municipal commissioner visited there during the inauguration. That fact cannot be acknowledged by the courts. What did the corporation do for eighteen months? “Sat over it?” inquired the bench.

The bench questioned the company’s conduct concerning entertainment tax, fire safety, and adherence to earlier court directives regarding fire safety precautions. 

“Although we would certainly want to, we are holding off on issuing any orders at this time to recommend that the officers in question be suspended for neglecting their duties and failing to follow this court’s orders. The bench continued, “We do not act in the hopes of giving them a chance.

The current RMC commissioner and the officers who served in that capacity from July 2021 until the incident date were instructed by the HC to submit affidavits outlining various structural stability certificate-related issues as well as other pertinent matters. Furthermore, affidavits regarding fire safety measures within their respective jurisdictions were ordered to be filed by the chief fire officers of the municipal corporations of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, and Rajkot.

As directed by their respective departments, the following individuals have been suspended: assistant town planner for Rajkot Municipal Corporation, Jaideep Chaudhary; assistant town planner for RMC Gautam Joshi; deputy executive engineers for Rajkot Roads and Buildings, M.R. Suma and Paras Kothiya; and police inspectors, V.R. Patel and N.I. Rathod.

A similar recent case happened in Delhi, where seven infants were killed in a fire at the Baby Care New Born hospital in East Delhi’s Vivek Vihar on 25th May 2024.

At least seven babies lost their lives when a massive fire that started at the Baby Care hospital in Delhi on Saturday spread to two other nearby buildings.

The grieving parents and relatives of the seven infants that perished in the fire at the Baby Care New Born hospital in Vivek Vihar, East Delhi, on Saturday, are requesting that the authorities hold them accountable for their untimely demise.

“They don’t know if the hospital was authorized. When Ritik, who lost his 10-day-old child, asked if the hospital had a no objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department

Another parent reported that his deceased daughter was born on May 15 at a different hospital. But when she started having health problems, she was admitted to the hospital.

Delhi Hospital Fire Tragedy: 7 Newborns Dead, Owner Of Baby Care Centre Arrested - News18

Five years later, tragedy struck again for one of the parents, a laborer. “My son passed away five years ago. My baby boy died on Saturday. He asked, “What kind of facilities do they have?”

At least seven babies lost their lives when a massive fire that started at the hospital at 11:30 p.m. on Saturday spread to two other nearby buildings. Five more babies with minor burn injuries are being treated at this time.

The police claim that the hospital’s license expired on March 31 of this year. In addition, the medical facility was only permitted to have five beds under the terms of the previous license. Nonetheless, twelve infant patients were admitted to the hospital at the time of the fire incident.

The police also revealed that the hospital’s appointed physicians only held BAMS degrees, making them unfit to care for a newborn in need of Neonatal Intensive care.

There were no fire extinguishers or emergency exits set up on the hospital grounds for such situations, according to the police. Atul Garg, the director of the Delhi Fire Department, stated that it was highly probable that the hospital building lacked a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department.

Dr. Naveen Khichi, the proprietor of the medical facility, was apprehended by the Delhi Police in the meantime because he had fled the scene of the fire.

No extinguishers, license expired

The owners of the private hospital, New Born Baby Care Hospital, are dentist Jagriti and pediatrician Naveen Khichi, MD. In addition to the seven infant deaths, the flames also endangered the lives of five additional newborns who were admitted to the same facility.

The Hindu was informed by DCP (Shahdara) Surendra Choudhury that the building lacked emergency doors and fire extinguishers. “The hospital’s license ran out in March 2024. The doctor on duty, Akash, only had a degree in ayurvedic medicine and was unqualified to provide neonatal intensive care, the man said, adding that even though the license was only issued for five beds, there were twelve beds when we inspected the location.

While the exact cause of the fire is unknown, a senior Delhi Police official told The Hindu that preliminary investigation points to a possible short circuit, with the presence of too many oxygen cylinders escalating the situation. 

Where were the hospital staff?

Around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, the police control room received a call alerting them to the fire. Even though the police arrived at the hospital quickly after receiving the call, no staff members were there, according to a senior police officer.

Nine fire tenders from the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) also arrived at the location shortly after. Before it could be put out, the fire spread to a nearby boutique, an ambulance, an optical shop, the inside and rooftop of a bank next to the hospital, and a scooter near the building, according to DFS chief Atul Garg. According to a second DFS official, the nearby residential buildings had also sustained significant damage from the fire. 

Rescue by residents

The head of the NGO Bhagat Singh Sewa Dal’s disaster management division, Jyotjeet Sabarwal, stated that although the DFS played a crucial role in containing the fire, locals organized and executed the rescue.

“We scaled a ladder and shattered the glass of the building’s first floor, which housed the 12 newborns. According to Mr. Sabarwal, “When we broke in, we discovered that everything surrounding the kids had caught fire, including their clothes, diapers, and the cot-like units where each baby was kept.”

The seven infants who were put in the cots nearer the front of the building were burned, he continued, even though all 12 children were saved. 

Vulnerable Situation at Hospital

The newborns were hurriedly driven in taxis and scooters from the blazing hospital, dressed in dupattas and towels, according to a medical officer at the East Delhi Advance NICU Hospital. The officer continued, “Two of them were placed on a ventilator; one of them passed away on Sunday morning, while six of them were declared dead.

According to the medical officer, the babies were already in a weak state because the Newborn Baby Care Hospital typically treated premature babies or those who had an infection.

No information to parents by Management was made 


Sitara Khatun, whose infant son perished in the fire, stated that the hospital had planned to release him on Sunday morning. The child’s body is currently kept in the GTB mortuary instead. “The doctor informed my husband that my child was doing well and that they would release him early on Sunday morning when he saw him on Saturday. She sobbed, “I wish he had brought him back on Saturday. Then I wouldn’t have to live to see this.”

A different parent, whose child is currently receiving treatment at the East Delhi Advance NICU Hospital, claimed that he had not heard anything about the tragedy from the New Born Baby Care Hospital’s administration. 

Delivery worker Mithilesh Kumar said, “We have not received a single call from the hospital management in the last 12 hours since the hospital caught fire.”

NCPCR Chief: Authorities to blame for the tragedy at Delhi Children’s Hospital fire

Seven infants died in a fire that broke out at a private children’s hospital in Vivek Vihar, east Delhi, and NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo accused the authorities of being to blame. “It was dangerous how the hospital was filling oxygen tanks. “Our member paid a visit to the hospital and will shortly submit her report.

Following that, we will send a notice to the Delhi government regarding this issue,” Kanoongo was cited by PTI in a video message. The head of the NCPCR further charged that the Delhi government had disregarded the commission’s notice from 2021, which suggested routine fire safety audits at hospitals housing pediatric, neonatal, and special newborn care units, among other pediatric medical facilities.

We’re questioning Dr. Naveen, who oversees numerous other pediatric hospitals in the nation’s capital.

An additional physician who was on duty at the time of the fire tragedy has also been taken into custody.

Government’s Compensation

Seven newborns lost their lives in a fire tragedy at the New Born Baby Care Hospital in Vivek Vihar the day before. Prime Minister Narendra Modi then announced that the next of kin of the deceased would receive an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh. “The Delhi hospital fire tragedy is heartbreaking.

During this very trying time, my thoughts are with the families who have lost a loved one. “I hope and pray that those who are hurt get better as soon as possible,” PM wrote on X. Nine fire tenders were sent to the scene as soon as the fire tragedy broke out at 11.30 p.m., according to Delhi Fire Services. They still need to determine what started the fire.

Also, 43 workers were killed in 2019 when a massive fire destroyed a bag factory in the capital.

43 workers were killed in a massive fire tragedy that destroyed a bag factory in Delhi, the capital of India, according to officials.

A fire tragedy that broke out at the four-story building located in the crowded old quarter of the city.

In the fire tragedy that broke out, at least a hundred people were sleeping inside the factory, which primarily produces school bags. Over 60 people have been saved.

Sending his condolences, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the fire tragedy as “horrific”.

Although the cause of the fire is unknown, an investigation has been launched.

Witnesses and an initial investigation revealed that a short circuit might have been the cause.

Screams and goodbyes as scores killed in devastating India factory fire | Daily Mail Online

What kind of fire safety compliance is required for buildings, hospitals included? 

What is specified in the National Building Code?

What obstacles exist?

Summary: The recent fire tragedy at a children’s hospital in Delhi and a gaming zone in Rajkot, Gujarat, which claimed the lives of at least 40 people in a single day, have brought fire safety regulations and the necessity of strict enforcement of safety measures—especially in buildings vulnerable to man-made disasters—to the forefront of public attention.

The National Crimes Records Bureau (NCRB) has released the most recent Accidental Deaths and Suicides in India (ADSI) report, which states that over 7,500 fire tragedy claimed the lives of up to 7,435 people in 2022.

According to the data, there has been no learning from the 1997 Uphaar Cinema fire tragedy or the 2004 Kumbakonam fire tragedy that claimed the lives of ninety schoolchildren. It appears that fire tragedy continue to result in significant casualties.

A look at the precautions, processes, and measures in place to minimize the risk and ensure the safety of people and property in the event of a fire is necessary because public buildings, commercial establishments, and residential complexes persist in disregarding basic safety norms, endangering lives.

fire safety rules
fire safety rules

Is there a model fire safety code in India?

In India, the National Building Code (NBC) is the primary fire safety standard. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) published it in 1970, and the most recent update was made in 2016. The Code primarily offers comprehensive guidelines regarding the general construction requirements, building maintenance, and fire safety of buildings, serving as a model for adoption by all agencies involved in building construction. Part 4 of the Code addresses safety from fire tragedy and includes detailed instructions on fire safety.

The NBC is a “mandatory requirement” for State governments to include in their local building bylaws the NBC’s recommendations for minimum fire safety and rescue measures. 

This is so because the 12th Schedule of the Constitution lists the provision of fire services as a municipal function, making them a State subject.

State governments are in charge of preventing fires and guaranteeing the security of people and property by putting safety measures into place via building bylaws or the State Fire Services Act.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs’ “Model Building Bye Laws 2016” serves as a guide for the States and UTs as they draft their own building bylaws. The Model also establishes standards for safety and fire safety. In addition to these, fire safety guidelines for residences, schools, and hospitals have been established by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The NDMA includes sections of the NBC in addition to guidelines for preserving a minimum amount of open safety space, secure exits, designated stairwells, and essential evacuation drills.

Fire Safety Rules
Although complete fire safety is not feasible in real life, the National Building Code indicates that steps can be taken to provide the level of fire safety that can be “reasonably achieved.”

The Code outlines the boundaries and prohibitions on building construction in fire zones. For example, Fire Zone 1 includes residential areas as well as buildings used for education and institutions. This is done to make sure that residential, institutional, and commercial buildings do not coexist with industrial and hazardous structures.

High-rise buildings, special buildings such as hotels, educational institutions, businesses, storage facilities, and industrial buildings with a floor area exceeding 500 square meters on one or more floors, assembly buildings, buildings with an incidental assembly occupancy area exceeding 300 square meters on any floor, and buildings with two basements or more—or one basement exceeding 500 square meters—are all subject to the measures. Nine groups are created based on the occupancy of a building. As an illustration, hotels fall under Residential Group A, hospitals under Institutional Group C, and assembly buildings such as nightclubs, marriage halls, circus tents, and multiplexes fall under Group D.

It discusses the kind of materials that should be used in buildings to lessen the risk of destructive fires and to save lives before evacuation is necessary. The Code states that non-combustible materials should be used to build structures, and that brickwork, reinforced concrete, or any other material with a minimum 120-minute rating should be used for the internal walls of staircase enclosures.

To stop the spread of fire, the Code specifies the maximum height, floor-to-area ratio, open areas, and the presence of wall and floor openings.

The National Fire Protection Association (NBC) makes it very clear that having flame-resistant wiring and cabling is “desirable” when it comes to electrical installation. It further states that metal conduits must carry medium and low-voltage wiring installed in shafts and within false ceilings. “In a separate shaft, the electrical distribution cables and wiring must be installed. Every floor’s shaft must be sealed using fire-stop materials that match the floor’s fire resistance. The Code states that all high, medium, and low-voltage wiring installed in shafts and false ceilings must run in separate shafts and conduits.

It also states that every metallic object, such as steel structural members, needs to be securely fastened to the earthing system.

For essential needs, there should be a distribution system for emergency power supply in place. This includes emergency lighting, exit signage, a fire alarm system, and an emergency public address system.

Types of exit access, exits, escape lighting, and exit signage are all covered in detail in the Code. It states, “All occupants shall be able to leave the facility safely. Exit access, exits, and exit discharge shall be properly identified, with adequate lighting maintained in the elements of the egress systems.”

It also suggests technologies that can be added to the system in the event of a fire. Firefighters can use dry riser pipelines to douse upper floors; automatic sprinklers and water sprays; fireman’s lifts; fire barriers; escape routes and markings; and automatic fire detection and alarm systems are a few examples.

Challenges

Every state has fire safety regulations, many of which are based on the NBC. However, because there isn’t any unified safety legislation and the NBC is only a “recommendatory document,” local governments usually disregard its recommendations. Not even required certifications are followed. According to the Code itself, “local head fire services may consider exemptions from the Code in case of practical difficulty or to avoid unnecessary hardship, without sacrificing reasonable safety.”

The lack of regular checks and enforcement of compliance by local bodies has resulted in an underutilization of fire safety audits, which are essential for guaranteeing compliance. As a result, the courts have frequently criticized State authorities for their carelessness in enforcing the fire safety regulations. Staff shortages worsen the situation and cause tragic deaths, as in the hospital fires in Delhi and the Rajkot game zone.

In a 2020 report titled “Fire tragedy in India: Learning Lessons for Urban Safety,” the National Institute of Disaster Management stated that “the authorities’ lack of interest in acting has indicated that little has been learned from the previous fire outbreaks.” “Community resilience building would have been beneficial in preventing this calamity as well. Following the planning regulations and building bylaws could have easily prevented this tragic event and saved many lives. The NIDM report continued, “What we need to consider is our level of fire safety readiness and the degree to which safety regulations are being adhered to. 

For example, in the Rajkot case, the accused disregarded the rules by using metal sheet fabrication to erect a structure that was 60 meters long and 50 meters wide, with a height of about two stories. The local fire department had not issued the accused with a no-objection certificate (NOC), and the accused lacked even the necessary firefighting equipment, according to the FIR.


Inventiva wants to question the authorities, the government that –

  1. Till when negligence will be done?
  2. Will this leniency of playing with public lives keep on going?
  3. Even after the set rules of NOC and other safety measures, companies are playing and there is no set bar or punishment for it?
  4. The public has no fear of going against the laws?
  5. What is Judiciary action taken upon such life-death incidents? 
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