Monday, July 22, 2013

Legislators' Home defenceless against fires :::New India Express

Legislators' Home defenceless against fires ENS - BANGALORE 21st July 2013 In the event of a fire, extinguishers are the first line of defence. At the Legislators’ Home (LH), where members of the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council reside, fire extinguishers have become mere showpieces. The authorities have failed to refill them though they expired months ago. An official at the Legislators’ Home said there are more than 100 rooms and 120 fire extinguishers in the three blocks meant for MLAs. These extinguishers were due to be refilled on March 21, but nothing has been done yet. The complex has four blocks - one for MLCs while the rest are for MLAs. “Civil, electrical and maintenance works are the responsibility of the Public Works Department (PWD). We have asked Medley Fire Systems, which supplies extinguishers to this building, to expedite the refilling process,” he added. The PWD officials, who are responsible for the maintenance and safety of the building, have reportedly admitted to the lapse and claimed that refilling of fire extinguishers was on. The block where the 75 MLCs reside has four floors and 101 rooms. The building has over 40 extinguishers that also need refilling. “We checked with the PWD officials and they informed us that the process of refilling extinguishers is on,” an official at the Assembly Secretariat said. When Express contacted the Fire Department to enquire about its role in such cases, DGP-Fire and Emergency Services (Home Guards and Civil Defence) Om Prakash said the department’s role is limited to consultancy. “In case of an emergency, we send personnel to contain the fire. After the tragedy at Carlton Towers in 2010, the High Court had passed an order directing the department to inspect high-rise buildings once in two years. We had inspected the LH last year and everything was in place. Now, it is the responsibility of the department concerned (PWD in this case) to look after the maintenance and safety aspects,” he said. The PWD officials said they have already put up a proposal to set up an exclusive fire-fighting force at a cost of `1.25 crore at the complex. “We have started the refilling process and everything will be completed in the next 15 days,” said Krishnappa, Assistant Executive Engineer, PWD. Regional Fire Officer of the Fire and Emergency Services Department, Ravi Shankar, said regular refills are very important. “No one can give excuses about these issues as it involves lives and property,” he added.