Hundreds of coaching centres flourishing on high-rise buildings in narrow lanes across the national capital are being inspected by the Delhi Fire Service. The authorities have also warned of action against builders of structures found prone to fire incidents or flouting safety norms.
The development comes in the wake of the devastating Surat fire tragedy, that claimed the lives of 22 students at a coaching centre.
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In its inspection, the Delhi Fire Service has identified four major hubs for coaching centres and had set up four teams to inspect them.
"We have found that are about 4,000-5,000 coaching centres in the national capital. The department has decided to divide work among four teams who will be inspecting coaching centres in Laxmi Nagar, Karol Bagh, Mukherjee Nagar and Kalu Sarai which are believed to be the biggest hubs for coaching," Delhi's Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg said.
The team has begun an inspection in Delhi's Laxmi Nagar area, where a number of coaching centres have been identified as hazardous.
A senior fire official said they had inspected some centres on Monday and Tuesday and found that most of them lacked provisions to tackle a massive fire. Some did not even have fire extinguishers, he said.
In addition to the physical inspection, the Delhi Fire Service has also directed its personnel to talk calmly with the caller and get as many details as possible.
"The people receiving calls have been instructed to be polite to the caller, talk calmly and get as such information as possible. We want to make sure that our teams reach the spot very well prepared," Garg said, adding that this came after he was told by his Surat counterpart that a major issue that delayed the rescue mission was the wrong information conveyed to them on the first call for help.
"I spoke to the fire chief in Surat on the day after the incident. The biggest problem was that the they (Surat fire) department were told that the fire broke out in the ground floor of the building and so a small fire tender was rushed to the spot. But then they realised that the fire was on the fourth floor... the small fire tender could not help in the case," he added.
The department is also acting to enforce the Delhi government notification of shutting down the cafes and restaurants which have their kitchens on either the roof or in the basement.
The fire service has also stopped providing NOCs (no-objection certificates) to the guest houses on or over the fourth floor.
At least 22 students had lost their lives in Surat on Friday after a fire broke out on the fourth floor of a commercial building which was being used as coaching centre.
Watch: Eyewitnesses recall Surat fire tragedy that killed 22 students