Delhi Anaj Mandi fire: Court sends property owners and manager to 14-day judicial custody

A Delhi court has sent the property owner, his brother-in-law and the co-owner, and the manager of the building in Delhi’s Anaj Mandi area, where 43 people were killed in a fire, to 14-day judicial custody

Delhi chief metropolitan magistrate Arul Verma, on December 23, 2019, sent to 14-day judicial custody the property owner, his brother-in-law and the co-owner, and the manager of the four-storey building housing illegal manufacturing units in north Delhi’s congested Anaj Mandi area, where 43 people were killed in a massive fire. Rehan, Suhail and Furkan were sent to judicial custody till January 4, 2020, after the police did not seek their custodial interrogation in the case.

The police arrested the three and registered a case under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire) of the Indian Penal Code. The case was transferred to the Crime Branch. The court had earlier sent Rehan and Furkan to two weeks’ judicial custody.

 


Delhi Anaj Mandi fire: NDMC to shut illegal units before January 15, 2020

Intensifying its drive against illegal units in the aftermath of the Anaj Mandi fire that killed 43 people, civic authorities in north Delhi have initiated a fresh survey and decided to shut all such establishments before January 15, 2020

December 12, 2019: All illegal units operating in north Delhi are to be shut before January 15, 2020, north MCD commissioner Varsha Joshi said, on December 11, 2019. “We are glad that people operating such units are choosing to vacate and shut down illegal operations. We much prefer this situation, to having to seal,” she added.

Asked if a fresh survey was being done after the Anaj Mandi fire, on December 8, 2019 that killed 43 people, she said, “Yes, a survey is being done.” A preliminary probe by authorities suggested that a short-circuit triggered the fire, which started on the building’s second floor. The building, which was left heavily damaged by the fire, is under the Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006, which protects unauthorised constructions from being sealed.

Between December 9 and December 11, 2019, four illegal units were sealed and 45 closed or vacated, according to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC). Show-cause notices were also issued to 13 units and a fresh survey of 21 units was also conducted during the same period, the civic body said. In Narela zone alone, 51 units were surveyed, of which four were sealed, while 11 industrial units were surveyed and four of them were sealed.

 


Delhi fire: Court sends property owner, manager to 14-day police custody

Following the death of 43 people in a massive fire in a four-storey building, a Delhi court has sent the property owner and the manager of the building to police custody

December 10, 2019: A Delhi court, on December 9, 2019, sent to 14-day police custody, the property owner and the manager of the four-storey building housing illegal manufacturing units in north Delhi’s congested Anaj Mandi area, where 43 people were killed in a massive fire. Metropolitan magistrate Manoj Kumar sent Rehan and Furkan to custody, after the police said their remand was required to ascertain the role of other accused in the case.

The court said considering the enormity of the incident, it was of the opinion that the case required multi-pronged investigation and hence the police custody of the accused was necessary. The police arrested the two and registered a case under sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and 285 (negligent conduct with respect to fire) of the IPC. The case was transferred to the Crime Branch. During the hearing, police told the court that initial investigation had shown there were other accused and custodial interrogation of the duo was required, to identify and ascertain their role. They said factories operated at the property without clearance from the authorities.

 


Delhi fire: Building was surveyed last week, upper floors found locked, say official sources

At least 43 people were killed and several injured after a massive fire broke out in a factory in Anaj Mandi area on Rani Jhansi Road on December 8, 2019

December 9, 2019: Civic authorities had ‘surveyed’ the four-storey building housing illegal manufacturing units in Anaj Mandi at Rani Jhansi Road, where 43 lives were lost in a massive fire on December 8, 2019, last week but the upper floors were found to be locked due to which the entire structure could not be inspected, according to official sources. Officials were to visit the building again to survey the upper floors and accordingly issue a show-cause notice, a source said. A preliminary probe by authorities suggested that a short-circuit triggered the fire which started on the building’s second floor.

“The building was surveyed last week by civic authorities, but upper floors were found locked so the entire building could not be surveyed,” an official source claimed.

The building is under Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 which protects unauthorised construction from being sealed.

“The unit would have been closed by authorities if not found to be permissible as a household unit under provisions of the Master Plan of Delhi,” the source said.

The building, spanning an area of 600 sq yards, had just one door. Fire department personnel had to cut window grills and metal meshes to enter to rescue trapped people, the Delhi Fire Services officials said.  Only one fire tender could be sent at a time through the narrow congested lanes, he said.

It took over 150 firefighters nearly five hours to douse the blaze. As many as 63 people were pulled out from the building. While 43, including one minor, died, 16 were injured. Two fire department personnel were hurt while carrying out the rescue work, officials said.

The massive fire ripped through the building housing illegal manufacturing units in north Delhi’s crammed Anaj Mandi area on Sunday morning, in the deadliest blaze in the national capital since the Uphaar tragedy in 1997 in which 59 people were killed and over 100 injured. Almost all the deceased in the Anaj Mandi fire were migrant labourers hailing from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Police and fire department officials said many of the fatalities occurred due to suffocation as people were sleeping when the fire started at around 5 am on the second floor of the building that did not have fire safety clearance and was packed with combustible materials like cardboards, plastic sheets and rexine.

The Supreme Court in its order in the MC Mehta Vs Union of India and others case had observed that under the Master Plan of Delhi, non-residential activities in residential premises are permitted only under certain conditions as laid down in the Master Plan.

Submit fire NOC by September 2019, or face action: Delhi government to resto-bars, clubs

Following the massive fire at a hotel in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh, the Delhi government has directed resto-bars and night clubs in the city to obtain fire safety certificates, by September 2019

Update on June 18, 2019: The Delhi government has directed resto-bars and night clubs in the city to submit fire safety certificates by September 2019 and warned them of strict action, in case of non-compliance of the order, an official said, on June 17, 2019. The move came months after a massive fire at a hotel in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh area killed 17 people.

According to the official, the excise department has issued the order to all the city’s resto-bars and night clubs, having a gross floor area of 90 sq metres or more, irrespective of their seating capacity. “Such establishments, which have excise licence, have been directed to submit a Fire Safety Certificate issued by the Delhi Fire Services, by September 30 this year. The department has warned them of action, as deemed fit under the Delhi Excise Act, 2009, including suspension or cancellation of licence,” the official added.

See also: Delhi notifies draft parking policy, allows free parking in residential areas

There are thousands of resto-bars and clubs functioning in the national capital. The Delhi Excise Rules, 2010, mandates requirement of a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department, for retail licence for consumption of alcohol on the premises of any establishment. Earlier in June 2019, the Social Welfare Department of the Delhi government also ordered a fire safety audit of all its institutions in the city.

In the aftermath of the Karol Bagh fire incident in February, the Delhi government had directed the Fire Department to inspect buildings, which are five floors or more. In its report, the government found that several hotels were not following the laid down rules pertaining to fire safety and others.

 


Delhi government notifies new fire safety rules for buildings

In the backdrop of the Surat fire tragedy that claimed the lives of 22 students, the Delhi government has notified new fire safety measures

May 28, 2019: In the backdrop of the Surat fire tragedy that claimed the lives of 22 students, the Delhi government on Monday notified new fire safety measures, including a ban on rooftop and basement kitchens and installing of carbon monoxide detectors, in the building by-laws. It also ordered the city fire services to carry out an ‘immediate inspection’ of all the buildings housing coaching centres.

The notification issued by the Urban Development Department of Delhi government also lays down that the fire NOC (no objection certificate) for guest houses will not be issued to those buildings which have more than four floors (excluding basement and stilt floor), said the Delhi Urban Development minister Satyendar Jain. The Delhi government in February 2019 had approved amendments in building by-laws to make room for improved fire safety norms in the buildings, after 17 people were killed in an inferno at a hotel in Karolbagh area of the city.

Jain said that the fire safety norms as per the amendment in building by-laws have been implemented with immediate effect. The Delhi government has also ordered Delhi Fire Services to carry out an ‘immediate inspection’ of all the buildings housing coaching centres, said the minister. The notification inserts a new clause 7.31 in Chapter 7 of the Unified Building By-Laws for Delhi, 2018, under which various provisions have been made for fire safety. “No kitchen will allowed or rooftops or basement. No cooking activity of any kind will be permitted on the rooftop or basement,” it said. Also, no temporary roofing over the roof or terrace with use of inflammable material will be allowed.

 

See also: Fire safety precautions that developers and home buyers can take

 

The notified amendment also provides for carbon monoxide fire detectors and alarms to be installed in the buildings as per the Delhi Fire Services standards. It provides for proper air ventilation for staircases and corridors in the buildings, besides banning the storage of inflammable material on rooftop. It will be mandatory to install fire safety doors having resistance of not less than one hour at the entrance of each floor level where the number of occupants is more than ten. A senior government official said that the concerned agencies including the Delhi Fire Services and Municipal corporations will be responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the amended fire safety provisions in the Building By-Laws.

According to the amendments, the owners of guest houses will have to submit floor plans indicating the use of each floor, to the Delhi Fire Services, while applying for the Fire NOC. The deadly fire at Hotel Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh on February 12 killed 17 people and injured three others. The notified amendment in the Building By-Laws also stipulate that a gas bank, if any, will be installed conforming to the standards prescribed in the National Building Code (NBC).

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