Categories: Safety

Shankersinh Vaghela calls for separate fire safety commissionerate in Gujarat

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Vaghela appeals to Gujarat Governor for new fire safety system

In the wake of the Rajkot gaming zone fire, former Gujarat chief minister Shankersinh Vaghela has written to Governor Devvrat Acharya, urging the establishment of a separate commissionerate for fire safety and disaster management.

As reported by The Indian Express, Vaghela has also called for a transparent single-window online licensing authority system.

The appeal follows a devastating fire at an indoor gaming zone in Rajkot on May 25, which resulted in 28 fatalities and nine injuries.

Officials reported that the TRP gaming zone lacked the necessary fire department no-objection certificate.

Vaghela highlighted past incidents in Gujarat, such as the 2019 Surat fire that killed 22 children, the 2022 Morbi bridge collapse with 134 deaths, and the boat capsize in Harni lake last year that claimed 14 lives.

He criticised the state government’s response as “stereotypical assurances” and called for a people-oriented approach.

Recommendations for a single-window online system

Vaghela’s letter to the Governor detailed several recommendations aimed at improving safety measures.

He proposed a commissionerate with coordinated fire safety and disaster management, replacing the current fragmented system with a single-window online system under vigilant supervision.

Vaghela stated: “A commissionerate should be set up with fire safety and disaster management coordination.

“As licencing authority and clearances are with different local bodies, this should be replaced with a single-window online system under the supervision of vigilance officers.”

He also suggested standard safety norms for public places, including hospitals, colleges, schools, theatres, malls, gaming zones, water parks, construction sites, and commercial complexes, to be implemented by the state government at various administrative levels.

Call for legal action and public transparency

Vaghela’s letter also emphasised the need for strict legal action against corruption and negligence by government officers.

He recommended exemplary punishment for those responsible for such incidents, including government and private contractors.

Vaghela said: “An effective and transparent system should be created for places with larger footfall.

“There should be strict legal action against corruption and dereliction of duty by government officers for putting people’s lives at stake for financial gains.”

He proposed the creation of a public portal where citizens can verify compliance with government rules and access copies of necessary permissions for public places.

Criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s response

In his letter, Vaghela questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reaction to the Rajkot incident.

He criticised Modi for not offering condolences during public rallies, despite his political career starting in Rajkot.

Vaghela stated: “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s political career started from Rajkot as an elected MLA.

“Busy in the ongoing elections, he might have forgotten that he is a Gujarati.

“Governments will come and go, but how will you bring back lives? If you cannot give life, then how do you get the right to take it away?

“Instead of rubbing salt in the pain of victims’ families by putting out a tweet, if he, a moral responsibility, had said a few words of condolence in one or two public rallies, we would have thought he is our own PM.”

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