Anaj Mandi fire puts focus on 'flouting of fire safety norms' in Delhi

Around 43 people lost their lives on Sunday after a massive fire broke out in Delhi's Anaj Mandi area. The immediate cause behind the fire is reported to be a short-circuit.

In recent years, Delhi has witnessed a spike in fire incidents which has claimed a number of lives and caused damages of millions and Sunday's incident again put a spotlight on national capital's poor fire safety norms.

Violation of fire safety norms

In February this year, a major fire at a hotel in Delhi's Karol Bagh claimed 17 lives. Taking action against errant hotels over violation of fire safety norms after a massive fire in Karol Bagh, Delhi government had cancelled fire safety certificates of 27 hotels.

(Photograph:AFP)

Major fire incidents in Delhi

February 12: In one of the worst fire tragedies in Delhi, 17 people, including a child and a woman, were killed as a major blaze engulfed a budget hotel in Karol Bagh, triggering a blame game among the various authorities.

February 13: At least 250 huts were gutted in a massive fire which broke out in a slum in Delhi's Paschim Puri area.

March 26: Two minors were killed in a fire that broke out in a four-storey building in South Delhi`s Shaheen Bagh due to a short circuit.

June 26: Five persons had sustained major injuries while two sustained minor injuries in a massive fire incident at Narela.

(Photograph:AFP)

54 dead, 11 injured in second half of 2019

July 13: At least three people were killed after a massive fire broke out in a rubber factory in Jhilmil industrial area.

August 6: Six people including one child died and 10 people sustained injuries after a fire broke out in a multistorey building in Zakir Nagar in southeast Delhi.

October 1: At least one worker was killed and another was left injured after a fire broke out in a factory following an explosion in a wielding tank in Mandoli Industrial Area.

November 17: One person died in a fire that broke in a shoe factory in Narela area, Chief Fire Officer said.

(Photograph:AFP)

Constant rise in number of fire calls

The data published in 2011 showed that the total fire calls had increased by almost 65 per cent in five years.

According to the data, the DFS had received a total of 18,143 calls in 2011, which increased to 22,581 in 2012.

(Photograph:AFP)

One call in every 20 minutes

Similarly, the number of calls received by the DFS increased consistently between 2013 and 2017 and saw a massive jump in the total number of calls received by the department. In 2016, the DFS received more than 30,000 calls and it crossed the mark of 30,000 calls for the first time, which means the DFS received at least one call of a fire incident in every 20 minutes.

(Photograph:AFP)

Shortage of staff by 35%

On the other side, the DFS is facing a shortage of 35 per cent staff to deal with fire incidents.

According to an official document, the sanctioned strength for the DFS was around 3,600 till last year but less than 2,000 people were working there.

This year, 500 new recruits have joined the DFS. However, 800 posts are still lying vacant.

(Photograph:Reuters)

200 fire engines for the population of 2 crores

Also, the control room of the DFS, which is responsible to receive calls, is facing a massive shortage of staff. Currently, the DFS has more than 200 fire engines with a capacity of 5,000 litres of storage to cater to a population of almost 2 crores.

(Photograph:Reuters)

Need for stronger firefighter force

According to the information available, cities with 50 per cent less population have more firefighters than the national capital. London and New York with a population of 89 lakh people have 6,000 firefighters and over 17,000 firefighters, respectively.

(Photograph:Reuters)