Authorities should indentify exclusive zone for hazardous workshops, writes L. Srikrishna

Last week, a resident from Singam Pidari Koil Street in Konnavayan Salai informed Collector Anshul Mishra on the Facebook that many residents in the locality lived under constant fear.

The reason, he had, attributed was that the presence of a large number of unauthorised welding and automobile workshops. He prayed for immediate intervention and permanent relief.

The resident went on to say, “I noticed a passenger van on fire, which had come for welding work. As the vehicle was LPG fuelled, sparks spread around like forest fire. This led to panic in the area. Luckily, power shutdown came as a big relief to the public, which otherwise would have been disastrous. Before the fire could be put out, the damage was done.”

This is just a tip of the ice-berg as a majority of the localities located in the central parts of the city have such unauthorised workshops.

The labourers (child labour including) are exposed to high risks is a different story.

Officials in the fire and rescue services department said that with windy season fast approaching, the risk of fire spreading was all the more high. Last year, fire at a paint manufacturing facility still remains fresh in the memory of the locals in and around Sellur, he added.

Welding shops

According to the fire officers, almost every workshop – be it automobile or industrial purpose – the workers’ used welding plants and oxygen cylinders in their job. In many such outlets, the calcium carbide stones were kept in the open, which could be devastating.

The welding shops were there everywhere in the city. To name a few, they are in huge numbers in Workshop Road and surrounding pockets, near Palanganatham, near Guru Theatre, in and around Lakshmipuram and so on.

A senior police officer said that probably, such welding workshops, which is better known as ‘lathe’ in local parlance, may not be there in just one or two police station limits only. Poor handling or a sudden fire which was reported like in Singam Pidari Koil Street may pose danger to residents living nearby. The impact will be heavy in thickly populated areas, he added.

Suggestion

The authorities should identify an exclusive zone for establishing such hazardous workshops. For the convenience of the public, it could be even set up in more than one place. All provisions, like fire safety and training to the workers will be welcome. Prevention is always better than cure, the fire officer summed up.

A pro-active joint action by the district administration, fire and police department would not only save innocent lives , but also bring in the much needed regulation.

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