S.M. Street fire audit report submitted to Kozhikode city police chief

Practice of cooking food inside congested shops among reasons cited for frequent fires

The fire audit report prepared by the Special Branch with fresh suggestions to address the existing safety issues at S.M. Street has been submitted to the District Police Chief (Kozhikode city) for immediate follow-up action. The report, which was prepared by Assistant Commissioner A. Umesh after conducting a field-study, has the details of all shops and its owners who have violated building rules.

A copy of the comprehensive report will be submitted to the District Collector and district-level officers concerned. Heads of various departments are expected to summon the violators soon.

“Our main intention is to make the area safe for both customers and those who work at shops. The traders in the area have the responsibility to ensure it at any cost,” says Mr. Umesh who carried out the several week-long study. According to him, building rule violations and ignorance of fire safety rules should be addressed in the first phase.

One of the findings related to the cause of frequent fires is the dangerous practice of cooking food inside congested shops. Many migrant labourers and casual workers in the area are reportedly following the practice without taking any precautionary measures. Though self-cooking is not permitted in the area for safety reasons, many shop owners are reportedly facilitating it citing their workers’ need to save money.

The poor quality of electrical wiring and equipment is cited as another reason. Apart from building rule violations, the attempt of some of the traders to store huge quantities of goods, including hazardous materials, violating storage rules has also been mentioned in the report.

The plan of the police is to take stringent action after issuing direct warning to the shop owners concerned for the rectification of safety issues. Based on the District Collector’s response to the report, the building owners concerned will be asked to meet the District Police Chief to finalise the deadline for corrective measures. Those failing to execute the emergency works on time are likely to be charged under various sections of the Disaster Management Act.

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