Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Last Updated: 22 May 15:21 PM IST
20 November 2012
KOLKATA, 20 NOV: The state government will try to simplify the process for industrialists to obtain fire licences, said Mr Javed Ahmed Khan ~the state minister-in-charge of disaster management, fire and emergency services ~ at a “Fire and Security” seminar organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) today.
The department is developing an online licence-application system, and will organise a “fire licence mela" at which “500 people could get licences at the same time,” said Mr Khan. He assured seminar attendees that speedy licences will be “under legal guidelines”.
“We want to ease restrictions of fire safety,” he said. The state government will set up training sessions in fire safety for people working as caretakers and security guards at institutes in Rajarhat and Behala, he said. Mr Khan emphasised the important role that industries should play in developing fire-safety infrastructure and investing in new equipment. “We cannot carry on like this,” he said, referring to the spate of building fires in the last year.
ICC Director General Rajeev Kumar said: “Extremely painful incidents have led to a lot of discussion about fire safety. But this intense discussion dies out after time, and people start treading the same track. The mind-set about fire safety needs to change. When buying property, people should regard fire-safety equipment and infrastructure as an investment rather than an extra cost.”
The Union government's deputy fire advisor, Mr D K Shami, said the Union government is working on a plan to centralise fire and emergency services. Legal guidelines for fire safety are adequate, said Mr Shami. The problem is implementation, he said. “We have to understand our own responsibility. Everything is there, but unless we create a system where all are involved (and) unless the state government provides infrastructure, we cannot achieve fire safety,” he said.
The state government is talking with CESC to tackle the problem of overhanging wires in bustee areas, he said, and held a meeting last week on the issue. The state has spent Rs 50 crore on new equipment, and another Rs 50 crore improving fire stations and building new ones, he said. “Within the next few months, we will have a new face for fire-fighting measures in West Bengal,” he said.
Mr Khan urged industrialists to work with the state government. “We are doing it, but the government alone cannot do it,” he said. sns