With Aadi round the corner, shopping enthusiasts are all set to make a beeline to T.Nagar. The bustle of pedestrian traffic on Ranganathan Street will be greater than usual. People will jostle for space, even inside commercial establishments. That takes us to the inevitable question: given the size of the crowds, have fire safety mechanisms been put in place?

The residents say, “No!” And they have sent letters to S. George, Commissioner of Police, Chennai, drawing his attention to a host of fire-safety violations in on Usman Road in T. Nagar.

Gathering information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, residents have discovered that numerous commercial establishments on Usman Road and Ranganathan Street have not adhered to fire-safety norms under various laws and regulations, including the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act 1919, Arms Act 1959, Explosive Substance Act 1908, Petroleum Act 1934, Gas Cylinder Rules 1981, and Tamil Nadu Fire Service Act, 1981. The letter has stated, “It is our submission that this failure to act in accordance with fire safety regulations amounts to no less than criminal negligence and punishable under various laws, including Section 285 of Indian Penal Code.”

A First Information Report (FIR) has to be registered and action taken against these establishments. A couple of days from now, when the shopping season will begin, a sea of people will flow into the area. Given this, failure to comply with safety mechanisms is nothing short of endangering human lives, they added.

Repeated calls to the authorities concerned failed to evoke any response.

More In: Downtown | Chennai