Fire Service Act to be amended

Move to make it a comprehensive legislation providing for all safety needs

K.T. Sangameswaran

CHENNAI: A long-felt need of the Fire and Rescue Services (FRS) is expected to be met with the Tamil Nadu Government forming a 16-member committee to amend the Tamil Nadu Fire Service Act (TNFSA) to make it a comprehensive legislation providing for all the fire-safety needs of the department.

The panel, with the Director of Fire and Rescue Services (DFRS) as Chairman, and comprising among others representatives from the Public Works Department, Chennai Corporation and the police, has been requested to complete the work within a year.

It will also look into the issue of fire-safety in marriage halls.

The Government's decision to appoint the committee comes in the wake of the fire-tragedy in a kalyana mantap in Srirangam on January 23, 2004.

Official sources say the accident highlighted the immediate need to enforce adequate fire-safety measures in marriage halls and suitable amendments to TNFSA and other legislations.

Also a term of reference of the Fire and Rescue Services Commission was to examine the existing legal provisions and rules relating to licensing, prosecution of violators and responsibility of a citizen to avoid negligent acts and to suggest remedial measures and amendments.

"The TNFSA is 20 years old now. Our society especially the urban centres have undergone complete metamorphosis during the two decades and hazards stare at us from all corners. The changed scenario demands an updated response and this must be provided for by laws and rules.

The committee will therefore endeavour to study the entire gamut of issues and make recommendations to ensure better preventive and more effective operations by the department", the Director of Fire and Rescue Services, S.K. Dogra, told The Hindu .

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