National

Anaj Mandi fire exposes infrastructure challenges

Shubhangi Mathur New Delhi | Updated on December 12, 2019 Published on December 12, 2019

Delhi still traumatised

“The boy came to meet his uncle and decided to stay with him for the night. He is alright now and we are waiting for him to get discharged so that we can take him back,” narrates Mohammad Nausad, who came from Bihar on hearing of the incident at the Anaj Mandi (Grain Market) on the Rani Jhansi Road, in which 43 people died.

“The incident is quite traumatic for us as 14 people died from our village. Many ministers have announced compensation for the deceased but we don’t know they will get it”, he added.

It is not only Nausad, but entire Delhi is still traumatised from the fire mishap, which is considered to be the deadliest in Delhi after the Uphaar Cinema incident in 1997 in which 59 people died.

Dangerous fire mishap

The fire, which was allegedly caused due to short-circuit on the second floor of a four-storey building rendered 43 fatalities and injuries to many others. The residential building which was used for manufacturing products did not have a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Fire Department as reported by the officials.

Most of the people working in the building were from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar who came to the city for work. The fire accident happened when most of the workers were sleeping and many died of asphyxiation. Also was challenging to navigate through the lane where the accident happened, as it is quite narrow making it difficult for the fire engines to rescue the people trapped in the fire.

Mohammad Umar, an electrician in the Anaj Mandi said, “The fire started at 5:10 AM. I rushed to the building where I saw that many people were trapped on the second floor. I along with my brother brought fire extinguisher cylinders and tried to control the fire, but failed. With the help of others we rescued many people. In a while, the fire engines also reached the place.”

Victims of the massive fire were taken to the nearest city hospitals like the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash (LNJP) Hospital where their relatives rushed in search of them.

“We kept our shops closed for two days in the remembrance of the people who died in the fire. They all were our brothers and we are very saddened with what happened. Patients are admitted to the LNJP Hospital but I am not sure about the condition of the hospital”, said a shop owner in the Anaj Mandi.

The owners of the building have been arrested by the police and a case has been filed against them. Also, the case has been assigned to the Crime Branch for further investigation and a report is expected within a week.

Amit Joshi, whose company is helping the Crime branch said, “The Crime Branch will be publishing the report in a week explaining the cause of the fire. We are helping the Crime Branch with the 3D scanning of the place, measuring the step size, monitoring if the required precautions were taken and studying the exit gates using a technology called FARO.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 10 lakh each for the families of deceased and Rs. 1 lakh for the injured people along with their free treatment. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed grief and declared that Rs. 2 lakh each will be given to the families of the victims from Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund (PMNRF). Chief Minister of Bihar, Nitish Kumar also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 2 lakh for the victims of the families from Bihar.

Published on December 12, 2019
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