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Does India have adequate fire safety regulations for public buildings? | The Hindu In Focus Podcast

Over the past few weeks there have been deadly fires in hospital buildings, including those treating COVID-19 patients

In this episode we’re discussing fire safety rules in public buildings, including hospitals. Over the past few weeks there have been deadly fires in hospital buildings, including those treating COVID-19 patients, compounding what is already a severe crisis that the country is facing.

The most recent incident was on May 1, when at least 18 people died after a fire broke out in a COVID hospital in Bharuch in Gujarat. A spate of recent hospital fires has also been reported from Maharashtra, at Virar, a suburb of Mumbai, and Mumbra near Thane and earlier in the year at Nagpur. 

Fires breaking out in buildings, big and small across India is not a new phenomenon. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says 330 people died in commercial building fires in 2019, while fatalities for residential or dwelling buildings were much higher at 6,329. Electrical faults are cited as the leading cause of fires, but State governments are also widely criticised for being lax with building safety laws and for failing to equip public buildings with modern technology.

What are the laws and regulations regarding fire safety and how much or how little various State governments comply with them? In this episode we try and answer the question of whether these incidents have been avoided with better compliance of the laws and what can be done in the future to prevent them.

Guest: G Ananthakrishnan, Senior Associate Editor, The Hindu

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