Rajkot TRP Gamezone fire: HC orders probe into working of all civic bodies in Guj | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Rajkot TRP Gamezone fire: HC orders probe into working of all civic bodies in Guj

Jun 17, 2024 10:21 PM IST

The Rajkot inquiry committee comprises senior officials, Manisha Chandra, P Swaroop and Rajkumar Beniwal

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government on Monday set up a three-member inquiry panel into Rajkot’s TRP Gaming Zone on orders of the high court that wanted the state to “find out the fault of erring officers of the Rajkot municipal corporation including municipal commissioners” who allowed the gaming zone to come up.

Rajkot: Congress workers hold a candlelight vigil to pay tribute to those killed in a fire at TRP Gaming Zone, in Rajkot (PTI FILE PHOTO)
Rajkot: Congress workers hold a candlelight vigil to pay tribute to those killed in a fire at TRP Gaming Zone, in Rajkot (PTI FILE PHOTO)

In a sharply-worded 22-page order, the high court rejected the corporation’s defence of the municipal commissioners for the illegal construction at the TRP Gaming Zone where a fire killed 27 people on May 25.

“The response given on behalf of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation that the Municipal Commissioners were never made aware of any such erections or usage of such a huge structure from the year 2021, cannot be believed. The structure comprised of the fabricated steel frame with boundaries of steel patras having G+1 floor, cannot be considered to be an invisible structure, which was thriving in the city within the territorial jurisdiction of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation,” the bench of chief justice Sunita Agarwal and justice Pranav Trivedi said in its order dated June 13. The order was uploaded to the high court’s website on June 16.

The bench warned that the inquiry panel, to be constituted by the state’s principal secretary, urban development, “shall not spare anyone found guilty or being irresponsible and all aspects of dereliction of duties or inaction” on the part of RMC officers shall be brought to light. The report shall be submitted to the high court by July 4.

The court also ordered a separate inquiry into all municipal corporations in the state where accidents have occurred due to the inaction of their chiefs at crowded public venues.

In this context, the bench directed the urban development principal secretary to take stringent action to put his “house in order as it is evident that the working of the municipal commissioners of the corporations in the state has become aweigh”.

The court felt the need for an inquiry into the workings of the municipal corporations because recent accidents reflect dereliction of duty on the part of the municipal commissioners and cited the Morbi bridge collapse, Harni boat tragedy and Rajkot TRP Game Zone fire in this context.

“These repeated incidents show that public places managed by the corporations and the places of amusement where footfall of public is to a large extent, have been kept unsafe for human lives, because of dereliction in discharge of duties or inaction of the head of the institution,” the court said.

The urban development department has one month to submit this report.

The court has also ordered the education department to conduct a physical inspection of all schools catering to students aged 3 to 14, both state-run and private, to verify compliance with fire safety measures and building regulations. Reports on these inspections must be submitted to the court within one month.

The court was alarmed by reports that the gaming zone in Rajkot exploited loopholes in the Gujarat Comprehensive General Development Control Regulations (CGDCR) to erect unauthorised structures for recreational purposes. It also highlighted that the gaming zone resorted to temporary tin structures to sidestep regulatory requirements.

Furthermore, the court noted the proliferation of such gaming zones not only in Rajkot but also in Ahmedabad, emphasising their potential threat to public safety.

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