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Citywide audit reveals serious fire safety deficiencies in Delhi’s coaching centres


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None of the 130 audited centres deemed satisfactory

In a citywide audit conducted recently, 130 coaching centres in Delhi were found to be lacking in adequate fire safety measures. The inspections were driven by a major blaze on June 15 at a building in Mukherjee Nagar, where several such centres operate. The Delhi Fire Services (DFS) failed to identify a single centre that could be deemed “satisfactory” with respect to fire safety standards, according to their officers.

Many centres found to have inadequate safety provisions

DFS director Atul Garg pointed out the concerning reality: “Some coaching centres had a few arrangements to deal with fire situations, and some didn’t have any. But not one was found to be satisfactory in terms of fire safety standards.” It became apparent that many of these coaching centres had just a single, narrow staircase, often serving as the sole entry and exit route for hundreds of students.

Further issues include outdated or improperly positioned fire extinguishers

Fire extinguishers were present at some of these centres, Garg reported, but they were either obsolete, there were no personnel trained to operate them, or they were located in places challenging to access during emergencies.

Lack of regulations and guidelines clouding the issue

Garg further elaborated on the complications the audit team faced, as the lack of regulations for these coaching centres made it unclear whether they were legally required to have a fire no-objection certificate (NOC). “The problem is that since coaching centres in Delhi are unregulated, they may not be legally in the wrong in not having the necessary fire safety arrangements. That is because there are no guidelines for the coaching centres,” explained Garg.

Audit to continue and final report expected next month

Despite the challenges, the audit will continue till Sunday, with a final report being prepared to submit to the court early next month. The current inspections have included coaching centres in notable hubs such as Mukherjee Nagar, Kalu Sarai, Janakpuri, and Laxmi Nagar. However, the exact total number of centres remains unknown due to a lack of complete records.

This report underscores the critical need for stringent fire safety guidelines and robust regulations for coaching centres in Delhi, to ensure the safety of students and staff alike.

Source: Hindustan Times

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