Nagpur: Even though Diwali festivity around a week away, the commercial hub Gandhibagh could witness an explosive situation of sorts as hundreds of fataka shops have mushroomed in the congested area “illegally.” But the “real culprit” is the Fire Brigade that has gone on NOC granting spree without verification of the ground situation.
The busy and congested Gandhibagh locality is dotted with firecrackers shops for the ensuing festival of lights. A scan of the area and the market would reveal the fataka shops have come up in violation of laid down rules and regulations governing fire safety. A scrutiny further revealed that the NMC and its Fire Brigade issued No Objection Certificates (NOCs) indiscriminately and without verification, too. The outcome is potentially hazardous. A number of fataka shops are bereft of firefighting tools and thus inviting a disaster of monstrous proportions.
Ironically, the volatile situation is not limited to this year alone. This is regular feature repeated year after year by concerned NMC babus and Fire Brigade personnel. The fataka shops “warm up” the pockets of every connected to issuing licenses and NOCs. The stretch between Agrasen Square and Darodkar Square on Central Avenue is dotted with hundreds of small-big firecrackers shops. Most of them lack firefighting tools but still got licenses and NOCs. The scariest part of the situation is that the fataka shops are in close proximity of each other. One shudders to imagine the disaster if a spark were to ignite a shop and the chain reaction it would trigger.
Moreover, the fataka shops are in the midst of other commercial establishments such as auto parts, grocery shops, electrical, electronics, godowns, and a host of other firms. One would not get a chance even to run from the spot if a fire tragedy is to take place. The single authority to issue license and NOCs should be police. Some police officials say that the licenses for fataka shops are being issued on the same age-old basis. This could undoubtedly prove ominous. New rules and regulations should be formulated in the changing situations. But now it is too late, said the top cops and turned the subject.
–Rajeev Ranjan Kushwaha (firstname.lastname@example.org)