A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court for a direction to higher authorities to take necessary action against officials concerned for their failure to ensure fire safety measures in a commercial complex in Coimbatore where a fire broke out on April 25. Four women died in the fire.
When the petition came up before a Vacation Bench, comprising Justices R. Subbiah and A. Arumughaswamy, the Special Government Pleader took notice. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing after a week.
The petitioner, K.R. Ramaswamy of Chennai, said a fire broke out in Vigneshwar Cresta on Avinashi Road in which four persons died and 10 persons sustained grievous injury. The accident occurred because of lack of fire exit in the building. Fire and rescue services officials had turned a blind eye to such a construction.
Law enforcing authorities were empowered to inspect commercial buildings so that safety measures were in place. In the present case, the authorities should have taken action, but they did not. Had necessary action been taken, the tragedy could have been averted. The authorities had not taken action against the real offenders, but arrested the manager, he said.
The petitioner sought a direction to the Secretaries of the Housing and Urban Development and Municipal Administration and Water Supply Departments and the Coimbatore Police Commissioner to initiate criminal and disciplinary proceedings against the Deputy Director of Fire and Rescue Services, Western Region Coimbatore and the Coimbatore Corporation Commissioner for their failure to check unauthorised constructions.