| GMC officials seal a school last year. Telegraph picture |
Feb. 25: The state fire service department has said most of the city’s schools that had been earlier issued notices for not adhering to safety norms, are in the process of installing the facilities.
Officials of the department said schools which would fail to put in place required safety measures even after being given sufficient time, would be closed down.
The officials have been monitoring these schools for more than a year now.
Last year, the GMC was compelled to seal one school in the city after it was found that the school administration had grossly violated safety norms even after getting the notice.
The notices were issued to 17 schools for flouting safety norms. A majority of these schools are run from residential buildings. These have neither adequate space nor necessary safety measures to facilitate evacuation of students from the school buildings in the event of a disaster.
“We have been monitoring these schools for a while now. Since they were asked to either adopt safety measures or face strict action, the majority have already begun the process to install safety measures like fire exits and fire extinguishers. The main problem is that these schools face dearth of adequate space and were constructed without keeping in mind the safety of the students. Some do not even have the space to construct fire exits in the form of separate staircases,” senior special officer at the Guwahati fire station, R.C. Bhokot, said.
The GMC is planning to conduct a drive again to monitor the measures being taken by the schools.
“Of the 17 schools that were served notices, one has been closed down while the others were given time to put in place safety measures like construction of separate fire exits, fire-fighting equipment and trained manpower who can manage a disaster and help in evacuation of the students. Management of disasters like fire and earthquake is our priority. We have made a separate list of schools and will soon be visiting them to check whether they have complied to the norms,” associate planner of GMC, J. Sarma Kakati, said.
“Schools should have sufficient spaces for the students to be able to freely move about. Those with insufficient spaces will have to make separate arrangements by shifting to a new building with adequate space. The safety of the children can in no manner be compromised and we cannot allow them to function in such cases,” Bhokot said.
The fire officials also rue people’s lack of basic knowledge on disaster management and safety measures that needed to be installed while constructing a building.