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05 Aug 2020, 16:55 HRS IST
  • PTI
  • Anaj Mandi fire: North Delhi civic body to shut illegal units before Jan 15

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0:13 HRS IST

(Eds: Updating with figures )

New Delhi, Dec 11 (PTI)
Intensifying its drive against illegal units in the aftermath of the Anaj Mandi fire that killed 43 people, civic authorities in north Delhi have initiated a fresh survey and decided to shut all such establishments before January 15, a senior official said on Wednesday.

On Sunday, a massive fire ripped through a four-storey building housing illegal manufacturing units and officials found that it was packed with combustible material and had just one door, virtually making it a "fire trap".

Between Monday and Wednesday four illegal units were sealed and 45 closed or vacated, according to the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC).

Show-cause notices were also issued to 13 units and a fresh survey of 21 units was also conducted during the same period, the civic body said.

In Narela zone alone, 51 units were surveyed of which four were sealed while 11 industrial units were surveyed and four of them were sealed.

Household industrial as per master plan are encouraged to apply for licence.

"All illegal units operating in north Delhi are to be shut before January 15," North MCD Commissioner Varsha Joshi said.

"We are glad that people operating such units are choosing to vacate and shut down illegal operations. We much prefer this situation to having to seal," she said.

Civic authorities are further surveying units in the Anaj Mandi area, officials added.

The north Delhi civic body, a week before the accident, had conducted a survey of several properties in the area, including the building where the blaze took place.

The upper floors of the four-storey building were found to be "locked" due to which the entire structure could not be inspected, officials had earlier said.

"Owners of 15 buildings, housing units, were given show-cause notices right after the survey and asked to reply in 48 hours. Many tend to vacate the premises by themselves, and if they don't we will seal those buildings," NDMC Commissioner Joshi said.

Asked if, a fresh survey was being done after the fire, she said, "Yes, survey is being done."

The NDMC has been conducting a sealing drive for the past several months to shut illegal units.

A preliminary probe by authorities suggested that a short-circuit triggered the fire which started on the building's second floor.

The fire incident has put a spotlight again on unauthorised units operating in congested areas, a factor that hampered rescue operations.

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Monday issued notices to the Delhi government, the city's police chief and the NDMC over the incident, describing the Anaj Mandi fire as a "catastrophe" that was waiting to happen.

The building was packed with combustible material and had just one door that opened into a narrow lane, virtually making it a "fire trap", fire officials had said.

The building which was left heavily damaged by the fire, is under Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act, 2006 which protects unauthorised construction from being sealed.

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