Fire audit of all BBMP markets soon

In 2012, a fire in Russell Market destroyed more than 100 shops.

In 2012, a fire in Russell Market destroyed more than 100 shops.   | Photo Credit: K_GOPINATHAN


Safety measures in Russell Market not updated, say traders

The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) will be inspecting not just the historic K.R. Market but all the markets that fall under its purview. BBMP Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad said he had written to M.N. Reddi, Director General of Police, Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services, to conduct the inspection and recommend necessary fire-fighting equipment for each market as well as evacuation measures to be put in place.

According to Mr. Reddi, the department had already audited the major markets, including Russell and Johnson markets. The department will take up an audit of other markets in the city, he said.

With regard to K.R. Market, fire department officials said that due to improper maintenance of waste, the premises had become a garbage dumping yard, with pathways and stairways occupied by petty shops.

According to one trader, many illegal shops had been allowed to come up in open spaces and pathways alleged by rowdy elements and BBMP officials. “Though the original plan had provisions for wide passages and open stairways, these spaces have been usurped by illegal and unauthorised shops,” the trader said.

He added that a few years ago, more than 25 shops in the basement were gutted in a fire caused by an electrical short circuit.

Russell Market, too, is a fire trap, said traders. In February 2012, more than 170 shops were ravaged in a fire that broke out in the fruits and vegetables section. A shopkeeper recalled that, at the time, the Traders' Association had pooled in money to repair the market while the BBMP sought an NOC from the fire department before restoring power supply to the market. “When the NOC was issued by the fire department, we had in place some temporary fire safety measures. However, they have not been upgraded,” the trader said.

Mr. Prasad told The Hindu that both K.R. Market and Russell Market are being taken up for redevelopment under the Smart City project. Tenders for the redevelopment of K.R. Market at ₹50 crore had already been floated.

“A major component of the redevelopment plan is to provide all the required fire safety equipment, as per requirements of the fire and emergency service, such as smoke detectors, public address system and water hydrants. This is estimated to cost ₹2.7 crore,” he said.

He added that a similar plan is being drawn up for Russell Market. “The detailed project report is being prepared. We are also consulting traders about their requirements,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2020 8:22:24 AM |

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