Stemming from the determination that the Carlton Towers tragedy should not fade away from public memory, Beyond Carlton, a people's initiative for fire safety, has suggested that the park next to the ill-fated building on HAL Airport Road be converted into a memorial where nine trees will be planted for each of the victims.
This was revealed by Nitin Dubey, a survivor and a member of Beyond Carlton, at the memorial service organised on Wednesday to mark the first anniversary of the tragedy, which also left 60 injured on February 23, 2010. “We will be getting the necessary approval from the authorities very soon,” he said.
On the occasion, H. Sudarshan Ballal, medical director of Manipal Hospital where the memorial service was held, recalled how most of his colleagues were in the emergency room on that fateful day. “People were being brought in private vehicles and ambulances with grievous injuries. It is a lesson to be learnt in how to deal with a mass casualty,” he said. The city as a whole is now a lot more aware about fire safety, he added.
Ashwin Mahesh from ABIDe, who spoke at the service, said a new legislation empowering the Fire and Emergency Services Department and making safety laws more stringent was likely to be effected soon.
Meanwhile, Beyond Carlton paid its tribute to the Fire Department on Wednesday, commencing with a free health check-up camp for its personnel. During the memorial service, three firemen who had saved many lives during the tragedy were honoured with the Firemen of the Year Award, which is going to be an annual feature.
Firemen K.T. Prakash, T. Venkatesha and Mudaseer Hussain were felicitated for “going beyond the line of duty” on that day.
B.G. Changappa, Director of Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services (KSFES), who was present at the memorial service, described the city's attitude to fire safety as dismal. “Believe it or not, we have received 445 calls reporting incidents of fire from this January already,” he told The Hindu.
Even the success of the proposed legislation will depend on public cooperation.