47 markets in Kolkata lack fire safety mechanism: minister

Kolkata At least 47 market complexes in Kolkata have been identified as "high risk" by a fire safety committee between 2010 and 2012, a West Bengal minister said on Monday.

The panel found that the buildings lacked fire safety mechanisms and were on high fire land after unplanned and unscientific internal modifications were made in them, fire services minister Javed Khan told the state assembly.

The panel was formed by the erstwhile Left Front government after a major fire at Nandaram Market in the wholesale hub of Burrabazar in 2008.

Most of the buildings had a single staircase and the corridors were blocked, limiting fire escape means.
Mr Khan was replying to a calling attention motion moved in the assembly after the death of 21 people in a fire tragedy at Surya Sen Market in the city last month.

He said that following non-compliance with the recommendations of the panel, cases were registered against the owners of 19 market buildings.

The committee recommended that all leather manufacturing factories and rubber and plastic units, besides warehouses and chemical godowns in the city, should be moved out of the city.

It also suggested that the Kolkata Municipal Corporation authorities draw up borough-wise risk maps after surveying private and corporation markets and business and commercial organisations.

Installation of CCTV cameras, water reservoirs with high pressure pumps in every market, regular night monitoring by police and on-site emergency plans for each establishment by market committees were among other suggestions.

Besides police, market committees would also be held equally responsible to ensure the premises were vacated after the day's closure.

Story First Published: March 18, 2013 19:43 IST

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