Chandigarh PG fire: No record of PGs, no NOC issued to any such facility, says Mohali Fire Dept

Jagdeep Singh Deep
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According to Assistant Divisional Fire Officer Krishan Lal Kakkar, “We are not aware about the fire safety systems in the PGs. If anybody comes to us, then we issue the NOC after carrying out physical verification. But I do not have any knowledge of anyone taking permission from us.” (File photo)

The fire that killed three at a Chandigarh PG has also brought under focus such facilities in Mohali. While some estimates put the number illegal PGs here at 500, the Mohali Fire Department told the Chandigarh Newsline that neither do they have any record of PGs running in the city nor have they issued an NOC to any such facility.

Pavitter Pal Singh Virdi, who formed the Committee Against PGs in Residential Areas, told Newsline that at present more than 500 PGs are being run illegally in the city without the permission GMADA or MC. He claimed that only 26 PGs are registered with GMADA. But now it turns out that even these 26 do not have Fire Department’s NOC.

According to Assistant Divisional Fire Officer Krishan Lal Kakkar, “We are not aware about the fire safety systems in the PGs. If anybody comes to us, then we issue the NOC after carrying out physical verification. But I do not have any knowledge of anyone taking permission from us.”

Putting the onus on the district administration, he said that they are ones who should carry out inspection drives.

However, GMADA’s EO (Housing) Mahesh Bansal said that they were registering the PGs only after following due procedure.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) Girish Dayalan said that he will ensure that all the PGs are checked by the concerned agencies and action is taken against those found violating the law.

Speaking about the areas where the illegal PGs have mushroomed, Virdi said that in the past few years, hundreds of PGs were opened illegally in Shahi Majra village, Phase IV, Phase V, Phase VI, Phase 3B2, Kumbra village and Phase 1.

“What has happened in Chandigarh can happen in Mohali at any time. We have been fighting with the administration for long to crack down on the illegal PGs but the problem remains the same,” Virdi said.

The Mohali Fire Department, meanwhile, has been facing a staff crunch. The department had recently written a letter to the state government informing that it had a shortage of 58 firemen, 24 leading firemen. The department has only 1 leading fireman. The department is also short of 13 drivers. At present, the department has only 11 drivers and they have to do multiple shifts every day.