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Welcome to the Sikh Vichar Manch-Thought Provoking Forum for Justice

 
 

 
Meerut fire: How the guidelines were flouted

 The Meerut fair blaze 

Is to transfer the guilty officer(s) only solution? 

Exact death toll is not known till date and the victims’ families are facing ‘Police lathe charge’ to know all 

Who will do justice?

The Indian EXPRESS

Aman Sharma

NEW DELHI, APRIL 11, 2006 

The Meerut fair blaze-Don’t disturb us, we have DM’s permission’  

Acting on its own, the fire department approached the organisers on April 4 to them that the fair was a ‘fire trap’ but they were told “not to disturb us, as the DM had given all permission”,.........”They (Organisers) went to the DM office and got permission in one day itself............... Chief Fire Officer Arun Chaturvedi told The Indian Express. 

Asked why he as the Fire Service Chief didn’t act to enforce safety checks, Chaturvedi said: “How could I? The DM’s a senior officer.” 

Sources said the police too gave a prompt approval stamp after the organisers told them they would arrange for private security. No policeman was present inside the fair. “We are only responsible for law and order. The precautions regarding electricity, water and fire safety are not our responsibility. The organisers had assured us they would take all safety precautions,” said Meerut SP Rajiv Sabrawal.  

The DM who inaugurated the fair now says ‘such fair keep happening, there is no need for the permission. 

DM Ram Krishan maintained: “Such fairs keep happening in other big cities... there is no need for every permission. Koi dikkat nahi aati hai aise fairs mein, yahan to haadsa ho gaya isliye itni baatein ho rahi hain (There is usually no problem at such fairs, they happen all the time in big cities. Just because a tragedy has occurred here, that’s why everyone’s talking).” 

Why fair venue was a perfect fire-trap 

Meerut Chief Fire Officer Arun Chaturvedi quotes UP Fire Safety Rules:

• JUST ONE EXIT: The Meerut fair was spread over 20,000 sq meter. UP guidelines ask for an exit gate every 60 feet. But there was just one entry-exit gate, only four feet wide.

• CONJOINED PANDALS: All three AC pandals were joined, fully covered from above with the exit at one corner. Smoke filled the pandals and led to asphyxiation.

• COMBUSTIBLE MATERIAL: Wooden flooring, synthetic cloth, wooden pillars, faulty electrical wiring for the ACs made it a “perfect fire-trap”. 

• NO FIRE TENDERS AT SPOT: No fire tender was at the spot. Guidelines say some tenders should be placed at the fair site to deal with any emergency 

Meerut fire: How the guidelines were flouted 

The Indian EXPRESS

Aman Sharma

NEW DELHI, APRIL 13, 2006 

The Indian Express on its part did a spot check, with a copy of the UP Fire Safety guidelines in hand, to know what went wrong: 

EXIT GATE EVERY 50 FEET PLUS AN EMERGENCY GATE • 

FOUND: The fair was in an area of 20,000 square feet, slightly bigger than a football field, calling for at least a dozen exits. Instead, three conjoined pandals, fully covered from above, were set up in a U-shape, with just one entry-cum-exit gate of four feet width at the start of Pandal number 1

50% OPEN AREA IN THE STRUCTURE, MINIMUM COMBUSTIBLE MATERIAL.

• FOUND: All three pandals were fully covered from above with no open area. Smoke had no escape route and caused asphyxiation deaths. There were loads of combustible material — wooden flooring, synthetic cloth pandals, wooden pillars, lots of thermocol for good cooling and LPG cylinders.

 

SEGREGATION OF EATING AREA, WHICH MUST BE OPEN FROM TOP 

• FOUND: The eating area was exactly in the middle of the second and third pandals. As cylinders burst, they created a firewall and it became impossible for people from third pandal to rush towards the exit gate.

FOR BIG FAIRS, KEEP FIRE TENDERS AT SPOT

• FOUND: No fire tender was at the spot. Meerut Fire Safety officials said they were never contacted for clearance. Tenders took almost 30 minutes to arrive.

(Operative part from the reports) 

Views & comments: 

Meerut tragedy and long pending public reforms 

Subject :  [India-Force] Meerut tragedy and long pending public reforms

From : Rajendra K.Gupta rkgupta_india@rediffmail.com

Sent :  Friday, April 14, 2006 11:26 AM

To : India-Force@yahoogroups.com 

The tragedy of Meerut is just a repetition of gory incidents taking place in India now and then. The corrupt and insensitive politicians and their tail wagging coward and corrupt bureaucrats cover up the things every time, like they have done in Meerut throwing away even basic respect and courtesy for human life. On other hand we persecute relentlessly a person for killing of gazelle, although that is of course a crime. I think the district magistrate, collector, SP police and Fire Officer of Meerut should be put behind bars for atleast 10 years and flogged. Not only they failed in their duty not learning from past history, in connivance with corrupt politicians they have illtreated injured and dead. It is because of corruption and dereliction of duty that such events happen. The whole system is moving around greed, corruption and fast buck culture with no public accountability. The public servants move and act as masters with sheer arrogance and shamelessness. 

Why these tragedies happen? Simply because the District Magistrate, SP and fire officers in district issue permission by taking bribe with closed eyes. 

Bribe and corruption is root cause of trouble in India.

We are not able to understand the seriousness of this issue. Many more tents and homes will burn and many more black bucks will be killed.

The Indian politicians and bureaucrats have failed the nation completely and deserve to be put behind bars.The problem with Indians is that we are a seriously divided society and we are cowards too. That is why corrupt and cruel criminals have entered politics and most of government babus have started now indulging in bribery openly and shamelessly. If you visit any Indian court or a police Thana, your head will hang in shame. The outdated procedures, harassment, indignity and open bribery in courts shall leave any one dumb struck. 

Dr Man Mohan Singh is a simple economist and former bureaucrat and educationist. He fails to understand root cause of rising unrest in society. It is like allopathic treatment of introducing toxins in body to suppress disease or symptoms. Let Dr Singh realise that Naxalite movement and Maoism or whatever else is nothing but reaction of people to decayed governance and break down of the welfare state and its failure in equitable distribution of social services. The 2 crore public servants siphon off almost Rs 1,50,000 crores annually by way of bribe and diversion of public money and a few thousand politicians are bleeding the Indian people. The cure lies in uprooting corruption and corrupt politicians, changing public servants service rules to make them easily replaceable and punishable, enforcing Indian judicial system and ostracising of corrupt people from society rather than praising them. Probably we as a race are corrupt, tolerant and self-centered.

Because bad leaders emerge from bad population. It is both ways although. But it is time our youth come forward and pay back to these corrupt public servants and politicians in same coins.  

Dr Singh and Dr Kalam instead of giving lectures and wasting time and opportunity they got to change society should get down to serious reforms of Civil services, police organisations and Indian Judicial system which is not hard to achieve in 3-4 years time if they are serious.It would be foolish to blame people's protest to discrimination, poverty, corruption and bad public administration as rebellion. Adding more and more forces will only impoverish the exchequer and create more rebellion and more violations of basic fundamental rights and human rights in India. This has always happened in history. Armies can't run administration. A good king can. One who is honest and committed to the people he rules. There lies our problem. Dr Singh has a choice to go down in history or go down the drain in next few years he has in hands. He should strongly come forward. People are with him. Instead of raising paramilitary forces he should attempt to raise standards of living of majority. And crush system of corruption institutionalised in India. 

April 14, 2006 (Updated)

 
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