SHC gives last chance to respondents on petition against poor fire safety measures

January 12, 2015 Off By Web Desk

KARACHI: Fuming at the provincial and local administration over their failure to submit replies to the petition calling for enforcement of fire safety measures at industrial and commercial buildings, the Sindh High Court (SHC) gave them last chance to comply with the court orders.

A division bench warned the authorities, saying in interest of justice and strictly as last chance only it would grant three weeks time to official respondents to file comments or appear in court in person along with explanation. The hearing was adjourned till February 6.

The petitioner, Agha Syed Attaullah Shah, Chairman of the Rah-e-Raast Trust, had moved court citing Sindh Environmental Protection Agency, Industries Department, Labour Department and Sindh Building Control Authority and others as respondents.

In the petition, he submitted that the authorities had failed to enforce the relevant laws to ensure the presence of fire safety equipment at commercial buildings, including industries, factories, residential flats, hospitals, educational institutions to cope with the emergency situation.

He told the judges that most of buildings are devoid of the fire extinguishers, emergency exits, fire-isolated stairs, emergency lifts, smoke alarms, and other emergency equipments, which could endanger the lives of occupants in any fire incident.

He recalled the ill-fated garment factory where more than 250 people were burnt alive on September 11, 2012, was also without fire safety equipments which led to loss of lives.

He prayed the court to direct the authorities to furnish a list of all such commercial buildings constructed without ensuring availability of emergency equipments. The court was also pleaded to issue directions for the authorities to strictly ensure enforcement of fire safety measures.

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