India

Only 400 of Delhi's 5,000 restaurants follow fire safety norms

30 Dec 2017 | By Shiladitya Ray
Violation of fire safety norms rampant in Delhi

Following the Mumbai pub fire in Kamala Mills complex which killed 14 people, The Times of India reported that only 400 of Delhi's odd 5,000 restaurants have the requisite fire safety clearance.

Owing to low frequency of and lack of diligence in physical fire safety checks, most restaurateurs get away with gross violations, said fire officers.

Here's more about it.

In context: Violation of fire safety norms rampant in Delhi

30 Dec 2017Only 400 of Delhi's 5,000 restaurants follow fire safety norms

A long term solution is needed

"We were asked by New Delhi Municipal Council after the fire in Mumbai to install safety measures for New Year Eve, but a long term solution has to be found," said Sanjiv Mehra, the head of the Khan Market Traders' Association.
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Fire safety normsWhat fire safety norms eateries are required to follow

Eateries should have an underground tank with a minimum capacity of 1-lakh-litres.

They should have at least two continuous staircases of 1.5m width, and at least two clearly marked, visible, and accessible exits.

Eateries should have water curtains, hose pipes, smoke detectors, public announcement systems, and minimum six fire extinguishers on all floors.

They should also have battery backup for electrical equipment.

How restaurateurs in Delhi are avoiding fire safety norms

Eateries with seating capacities of 50 do not require fire clearance. However, most of the 4,528 licensed eateries in Delhi claim to have a seating capacity of 48-49, but routinely exceed that by adding more seats. Seats are promptly removed during fire safety inspections.

ViolationsOnly 23 places closed, despite thousands of violations

Senior officials from municipal corporations said that over 7,000 challans and 1,739 notices had been issued to restaurateurs this year for multifarious violations.

Under Delhi High Court pressure, the south Delhi civic body closed down 19 eateries in August this year, but the total number of places shut down for safety norm violation remains very small at 23.

Restaurateurs often operate with expired fire safety certificates

No-objection certificates for fire safety are reviewed every three years after safety audits for the premises in question are carried out. However, during an inspection of Hauz Khas Village, fire officers found that restaurateurs often operate with expired fire safety certificates.
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ClearancesThe dismal situation about fire safety clearances in Delhi

According to the ToI report, only a fraction of places in Delhi's most visited market places have fire safety clearances.

Out of 35, 73, and 200 eateries in Khan Market, Hauz Khas Village, and Rajgouri Garden, only 3, 4, and 11 eateries reported having fire safety clearances respectively.

Connaught Place is relatively better with 114 eateries out of 200 having clearances.