India’s Capital on Fire

Anil Puri, CMD
APS Group

A conspicuous spike in the number of fire incidents in Delhi-NCR over last two years sends a chill down the spine. It presents a very alarming and gloomy picture of unprecedented jump in unfortunate fatal fire instances in hotels, hospitals, furniture markets and factories. The memories of the gruesome tragedy of Uphar Cinema on 13 June 1997, and in recent time, the similar accident at Anaj Mandi in December 2019 tend to haunt the common man with unabated fires blazing in all segments of industry. The magnitude of the problem is just beyond the imagination.


There are no straight jacket and quick fix solutions which can be offered on platter. The challenge has to be taken on war footing by the industry. Grant of no objection certificate (NoC) by the municipal authorities should be done with a professional approach and it should not be treated as a profit center. Similarly, industry should also not treat it as a cost center.

Following measures, if implemented with sincerity and honesty, the purpose will well be accomplished by arresting the trend, and thus by saving the precious lives and properties:

  • True compliance of National Building Code by builders.
  • Grant of NoC only after honest inspections by multiple agencies including fire safety department
  • Proper installation of adequate fire alarm, and fire detection and suppression systems.
  • Inevitable installation of passive protective measures like fire curtains, fire walls and compartmentalizations.
  • Periodic inspection, testing and maintenance (ITM) of all fire safety equipment installed in the buildings.
  • Procurement of equipment to meet the requirements of fire departments of Delhi, Gurugram and Noida.
  • Recruitment and staffing to meet the contingencies of fire departments of Delhi, Gurugram and Noida.
  • Unfailed fire safety training of employees in industrial units across all segments.
  • Regular and periodic fire safety awareness drive.
  • Fire safety audits and surprise checks.
  • Conduct of regular mock drills on building evacuation, operation of fire safety equipment and rescue operation.

A thought leader and an action catalyzer rolled into one – Anil Puri is a rare combination of a visionary, and one who has mastered the art of strategic and tactical thinking to the core. He has been using this combination to seed new ideas and to lead them to their implementation on ground. This has been a consistent feature of his career. Here he expresses his concern about the fire incidents occurring in different segments of industry in NCR in last two years and suggests the roadmap for fire incident free environment.


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