Seat of power is not fire-proof

Smoke alarms and wet sprinklers not in place inside Vidhana Soudha

Seat of power is not fire-proof

Going a step further, the Department confirms that the entire secretariat, including the Vidhana Soudha, the Vikas Soudha and the Multi-Storeyed (MS) Buildings are yet to implement full fire safety measures.

According to documents which Deccan Herald  had access to, the Public Works Department (PWD) has not initiated any safety measures, including smoke alarms and wet sprinklers inside the Vidhana Soudha. The recommendations include installation of manually operated electrical fire alarm systems with call points near each staircase, four wet riser-cum-down comer systems, one each near every staircase landing, and marking of escape routes to guide inmates to move freely in an emergency.

Even simple safety aspects like denoting the layout of the building to guide the people to exits were found missing.  The MS Building is in an even more deplorable state, with the authorities concerned lax in complying with any safety regulations since 1986.

In 2007, a letter addressed to the Principal Secretary, DPAR, Vidhana Soudha, the Fire Department had alerted the Government that none of the pump sets to douse fire were in working condition.

The Department had noted that the staircases, provided on the rear side of each block were closed with grill gates and were being used as a storage space for unserviceable articles.

The round-the-clock fire fighting team stationed by the Department for Vidhana Soudha and the MS Building, are only equipped to replace the portable extinguishers and be prepared for any eventuality.

The Fire Department had conducted an inspection of all the Secretariat buildings earlier this year and had found that no safety regulations were implemented.  The only saving grace for the government has been that the Vikas Soudha acquired a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Fire Department. But even here, the Government has implemented only 80 percent of the safety regulations.

Fire station for Secretariat

The Government has now commissioned a project for setting up a fully equipped fire station exclusively for the Secretariat. The Government has approved the project worth Rs 1.5 crore and sent it to PWD for further plans.

According to the Government sources, the project is to have the same design and replicate that of Vidhana Soudha. This might be the first fire station meant only for a secretariat area in the entire country.

The fire station will have a 24-member team working round the clock along with three to four fire tenders to assist them. The PWD, it now appears, may initiate a fire inspection of the entire secretariat and try to plug the loopholes in the safety measures in all the three major Government buildings.

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