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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Puja safety belt gets tighter

While Puja revellers start Mahalaya with Birendrakrishna Bhadra’s rendition of Mahisasur Mardini and give finishing touches to festive shopping, East Singhbhum district administration is worrying if the interiors of all pandals are 15ft or more and if fire-fighting gear is in place in each.

With twin aims of prevention and protection, safety checklist in pandals is as important to the authorities as is the installation of first-aid centres in all six zones of Jamshedpur. The city is divided into six zones — east, west, south, north, Mango and central — with 280 Pujas in all.

On Monday, Dhalbhum sub-divisional officer Subodh Kumar held a meeting with zonal wardens of civil defence and asked them to stay alert 24x7 during the five festive days. Wardens will also monitor the six first-aid centres storing all kinds of medicines and aids for emergencies.

The SDO has asked for a list of active members of civil defence.

For the first time, too, civil defence volunteers have been given an inspection form — with an objective type checklist — to enable them inspect safety standards at pandals and report their findings to district administration. Inspection starts from Tuesday.

“They will check the width of the entrance, materials used, safety measures taken and others. If Puja committees haven’t obeyed safety guidelines, they will be asked to modify what is possible. The data will help us guide them next year,” said Kumar.

The only snag seems to be a shortfall of registered divers to be deputed at riverbanks at the immersion on October 6.

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