Ludhiana: Temporary cracker markets sitting on powder keg - Hindustan Times
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Ludhiana: Temporary cracker markets sitting on powder keg

By, Ludhiana
Oct 21, 2022 02:41 AM IST

Putting lives at risk and blatantly flouting safety norms, the temporary fire cracker markets established at six locations across Ludhiana are running with little or inadequate fire safety arrangements

Putting lives at risk and blatantly flouting safety norms, the temporary fire cracker markets established at six locations across the city are running with little or inadequate fire safety arrangements.

A large quantity of firecrackers has been kept in the open by vendors and a short circuit or a spark from a cracker may lead to a major mishap. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)
A large quantity of firecrackers has been kept in the open by vendors and a short circuit or a spark from a cracker may lead to a major mishap. (Gurpreet Singh/HT)

Even as a large quantity of stock has been kept in the open and a short circuit or a spark from a cracker may lead to a mishap, the administration is turning a blind eye towards the violations.

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The markets have been established at grain market near Jalandhar Bypass; Cremation Ground Road in Model Town Extension; Dugri Phase 2; GLADA ground on Chandigarh Road; Haibowal and Lodhi Club Road. In total, 37 licences have been issued for sale of crackers in the city.

The firecracker vendors said it is the duty of the administration to make the safety arrangements, as they have only availed temporary licences.

General secretary of Ludhiana Fireworks Association, Neeraj Verma, said they have kept fire extinguisher balls at the sites and precautions are being taken to avoid fires. “Only the administration can make large-scale fire safety arrangements, as vendors have already submitted fees with the police department while availing the temporary licences,” said Verma.

A fire official, requesting anonymity, said the vendors used earlier avail services of fire brigade and fire tenders were deployed at the markets. “But, the firecracker association has to pay 25,000 per day for each fire tender as per norms, due to which they stopped availing our services. Before allotting temporary licences, police seek a report from the fire brigade to confirm whether these sites are favourable to establish firecracker markets. But, no concrete steps are being taken to ensure that fire safety norms are followed at the site,” the official mentioned above said.

Meanwhile, joint commissioner of police (JCP) Soumya Mishra said firecrackers vendors have signed an affidavit to make fire safety arrangements while availing the temporary licences. “The station house officers (SHO) concerned will be directed to make sure that the vendors make required fire safety arrangements at temporary markets,” Mishra said.

Residents seek proper arrangements at sites

Visitors to markets said the administration should ensure that proper fire safety arrangements are in place at the firecracker markets, as a large number of residents including children go there every day.

Girish, a visitor to the market established at grain market near Jalandhar Bypass, said that crackers can easily catch fire and with the large quantities stored in these shops, any mishap may prove fatal.

Authorities, vendors fail to learn from past mistakes

A major fire incident was reported at Gur Mandi - a congested market in the old city area around the time of Diwali in 1991, and at least 60 people had died in the tragedy. The people were burnt alive as they could not find an escape route.

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