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Delhi HC Directs MCD to Conduct Fire Safety Inspection Using Drones in Karol Bagh

The Delhi High court directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Fire Services (DFS) to file a joint status report on the issue by the next date of hearing, that is, October 14.


Updated:September 24, 2019, 5:35 PM IST
Delhi HC Directs MCD to Conduct Fire Safety Inspection Using Drones in Karol Bagh
File photo of Delhi High Court (Picture courtesy: Getty Images)

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed authorities to use drone surveillance for conducting fire safety inspection in Karol Bagh here while noting huge unauthorised construction and traffic congestion in the area.

A bench of justices Hima Kohli and Asha Menon directed the North Delhi Municipal Corporation and Delhi Fire Services (DFS) to file a joint status report on the issue by the next date of hearing, that is, October 14.

Taking into account the "unauthorised construction and congestion due to traffic and other factors, the authorities are directed to conduct inspection through drones surveillance," the bench said.

The court expressed strong exception to non filing of status report by the North MCD and DFS, which were earlier directed to appoint nodal officers for regular interaction and communication so that fire audit is given priority.

The court said in the absence of any status report and response from the authorities, it has to assume that the nodal officer by the North MCD was not appointed on time and no steps were taken for file the report.

"Mere assurance of coordination by the authorities is of no use," it said, and directed the two departments to conduct meeting to discuss the issue in two weeks.

It remarked that how the building plan will work when half of the buildings in the area have unauthorised construction.

Taking note of fire incidents in Karol Bagh area resulting in loss of lives and goods, the high court on July 29, had directed the North MCD to share building plans of the area with the DFS so that a fire audit can be done on priority basis.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Karol Bagh resident Neena Narang, through advocate Satyajit Sarna, 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.

In Tuesday's hearing, the court directed the Delhi Traffic Police to strictly comply with its orders of November 2018 and July this year to ban loading and unloading of goods in the Karol Bagh market during the day as also in 13 other markets of the national capital to decongest the city.

The other markets identified on the basis of footfall 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 taken action against improper, unauthorised and obstructive parking in the markets. He said the Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) has also issued circular to all the Deputy Commissioners of Police of the relevant areas to take action against violators of loading/unloading time restrictions.

The court was earlier informed about 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.

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.

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