Staff Correspondent

Fifty shopping complexes have not complied with safety rules, but are being allowed to run

DEHRA DUN: The Uttaranchal Government has ordered the Dehra Dun district administration to immediately take action against the large number of shopping complexes that have come up over the past few years and do not fulfil the safety parameters.

Acting swiftly after Monday's devastating blaze at the PVS Mall in Meerut, the Home Department wanted to know how over 50 shopping complexes that had not complied with safety rules were being allowed to run.

"It was at the Vishal Mega Mart that the Meerut blaze took place and this company's branch in Dehra Dun is surprisingly running without the NOC from the Fire Safety Officer. The complex has no emergency exits, the fire extinguishing equipment is much less than required, the staff is not trained to fight fires and above all it is located on the main Rajpur Road and has led to traffic jams as it does not have the proper parking space", the officials said.

Action is also expected against the Mussoorie Dehra Dun Development Authority officials who have allowed multi-storey shopping complexes in dense areas and not taken action against the persons who have converted the parking spaces in the basements into shops.

A senior official wondered how the Fire Safety Officials were allowing synthetic mattresses that looked like grass to be laid during major State-sponsored functions as the material was highly inflammable and could lead to a major tragedy. They recalled the major fire that broke out at the `pandal' put up at Raj Bhawan a few years ago in which everything was reduced to ashes within seconds.

This mishap took place minutes before the senior dignitaries were to arrive for the function.