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Fire safety kindles concern

- Residents of Games Village move GMDA to revamp fire-fighting system

Dec. 26: Residents living in Games Village flats at Borsajai have expressed apprehension over the poor fire-fighting facilities in their building and demanded immediate overhaul of the existing ones.

The Games Village Residents’ Co-ordination Committee has moved the Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) with a plea to revamp the fire-fighting system in their buildings. The moves follows the recent fire tragedy at AMRI Hospitals in Calcutta.

“When the Games Village was opened in 2007, the common entrance of each block and each floor had a fire extinguisher. Four buckets filled with sand were fixed at the entry points. Separate pumps and pipes were fitted outside in easily accessible positions.

However, many pipes were removed a few months ago by the GMDA to pump in water to some other buildings. Hence, the fire-fighting system has become non-functional,” the committee’s secretary, Dhiren Shrutikar, told this correspondent today.

The GMDA had constructed the Games Village for the 33rd National Games in 2007 and later sold off many flats.

Shrutikar said according to the agreement, the GMDA was supposed to look after the supply of drinking water and safety and security aspects of the Village. Each flat owner is paying Rs 1,000 per month to the GMDA for the same, he added.

“All the fire-fighting extinguishers have expired and no annual check-up has been done by the GMDA, which is compulsory. There is no hose pipe in the chambers, many fire buckets are missing and the few available are empty. All the flat owners are scared because we are not prepared for any fire disaster,” he said.

Shrutikar, an associate professor of history at K.R.B. Girls College in Fatasil, had bought a double-bedded flat for Rs 14.60 lakh in July 2007 and has been constantly raising the safety issues with the GMDA. “We have been regularly paying the monthly fees but we are not getting safe drinking water. Security is also a concern for us. Vehicles of outsiders entering our compound are not properly frisked and we are scared of any untoward incident,” he said.

The president of the committee, P.K. Goswami, said they had moved the GMDA and submitted a memorandum listing the residents’ problems, but no action had been taken so far. He said in reply to an RTI application filed by Nilotpal Dey, a flat owner, the GMDA had said the Games Village was equipped with proper fire-fighting system and water pumps.

The residents alleged this was incorrect information.

“No demonstration has been done so far to acquaint the residents with the fire-fighting system,” Dey said.

A GMDA official posted inside the Village admitted that the fire-fighting system was not sufficient adding and said process was and added that the process to revamp the disaster management system was on. Sources said the state fire service organisation recently conducted an assessment and asked the GMDA to improve fire safety measures.