Taking note of fire incidents in Karol Bagh area resulting in loss of lives and goods, the Delhi High Court Monday directed the North MCD to share building plans of the area with the Delhi Fire Services (DFS) so that a fire audit can be done on priority basis.
A bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Asha Menon asked the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and DFS to appoint nodal officers for regular interaction and communication so that fire audit is given priority.
The court was informed by counsel for DFS that to carry out a fire audit in the entire Karol Bagh area and to locate fire prone areas within the locality, the department will require the building plans of all the properties which was with the North MCD.
“In order to place before this court a realistic estimate of the time schedule required for carrying out a physical verification/ audit of this massive area, the building plans may be directed to be provided to DFS,” the fire department said in status report filed through advocate Gautam Narayan.
The counsel for North MCD submitted that it was willing to cooperate and share the building plans and to give any assistance.
Advocate Satyajit Sarna, representing petitioner Neena Narang who had approached the court regarding problems caused by illegal parking, drew the bench’s attention to an earlier order by which the concerned DCP was directed to ensure that police barricades are not left unmanned on the roads creating a hurdle for fire tenders.
He had brought to the notice of the court four incidents of fire in the Karol Bagh zone. In the fire which broke out in February, 2019, 17 people lost life and 35 persons were injured. The factory fire, which broke out on November 4, 2018 and February 19, 2019 had killed four persons.
The court was also informed by the Delhi Police that it has enforced the court’s earlier order of banning loading and unloading of goods in Karol Bagh market during the day in 13 other markets of the national capital as well to decongest the city.
Besides Karol Bagh, the other markets identified on the basis of foot fall and traffic congestion are Lajpat Nagar, Sarojini Nagar, Rajouri Nagar, Sadar Bazar, Chandni Chowk, Kamla Nagar, Gandhi Nagar, Vikas Marg, Green Park, Yusuf Sarai, Mahipalpur, Tilak Nagar and Dwarka’s sector 10 main market.
The Delhi Police counsel said the traffic police had also taken action against improper, unauthorised and obstructive parking in the markets.
He said the Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) has also issued directions to all the field officers to sensitise their staff so that the court’s earlier order is implemented in right earnest.
The court listed the matter for further hearing on September 24.
Advocate Sanjeev Ralli, representing the Karol Bagh Market Association, claimed that serious steps were not being taken by the authorities to enforce court’s order on restrictions of loading and unloading of goods during the day in 14 markets.
Several traders of Karol Bagh market had approached the court saying that they were facing difficulties and their business has gone down as wholesalers who used to buy goods from them have shifted to other markets due to the October 29, 2018 order.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Narang, a resident of the area, regarding problems created by parking of vehicles in almost three out of four lanes in one direction on the roads in Karol Bagh, leaving only a single lane for movement of traffic.