Rawalpindi: The Punjab Home Department has issued orders for launching a crackdown against buildings without proper fire safety measures, a news source reported. The Civil Defence Department has been asked to carry out the said operation.
The buildings to be targeted will include high rises and small industrial units. Orders require to seal the buildings if their respective owners fail to comply with the Home Department’s stipulations.
The directives for adoption of proper fire safety measures come in the wake of several fire incidents during the previous month. Over ten people, including six women, lost their lives in these episodes.
A senior official from the district administration stated that several buildings in Saddar, Murree Road, and other major commercial areas of the city, lacked fire safety equipment. He said the same thing about small industrial units, which deal with chemicals, located in different areas of Rawalpindi.
According to the survey conducted by the district administration in 2018, there are over 200 small industrial units located in the city’s thickly populated areas. These areas include Raja Bazaar, Khayaban-i-Sir Syed, Dhoke Dalal, Dhoke Ratta, Bangash Colony, Sadiqabad, College Road, Glass Factory, Asghar Mall, Pirwadhai, and Bash Sardarn.
While these factories work with chemicals, their firefighting equipment is either in non-working condition, or not installed.
The Local Government Ordinance 2001 states that no industrial unit can be established within residential areas. It also bars commercial activities in such zones.
The provincial government has previously directed to clear all such factory developments from residential areas. Meanwhile, the district administration has requested to clear high rise building rooftops from cell phone towers and billboards. These constructions hinder rescue efforts during emergency situations.
The senior official also requested the officials concerned to ensure that under-construction buildings meet standard development codes; particularly as they pertain to establishing emergency exits and routes.
An official of the Civil Defence Department has stated that the agency has formed four teams with six personnel each. These teams will begin the crackdown in Rawalpindi city and its cantonment areas from February 4.
The department has also issued notices to over sixteen marriage halls and hotels in Saddar and Committee Chowk to install firefighting equipment. Similar orders have been given to godowns in Rawalpindi district.
The department will begin issuing challans to owners of high rise buildings. Orders require the owners of these developments to install proper firefighting equipment within a week’s timeframe. Properties will be sealed in case of failure of compliance.