The West Bengal government has introduced online fire licence in a move to increase ease of doing business and significantly reduce the time taken to grant it to industrial units. "This will not only lower time for getting fire licences but will also remove the associated hassles and hardships for those setting up units here," the state's principal secretary to the department of fire and emergency services and environment, Arnab Roy said at the 11th Safety Symposium and Exposition organized by CII here today. The state government, he said, is not only investing larger funds in fire prevention but is also trying to devise a mechanism which will ensure that a foolproof safety mechanism is in place and is periodically being checked. Complacency on safety was the "biggest enemy" and all stakeholders must guard against it. "Even if we cannot prevent accidents, we must try and make sure that the number of accidents is substantially reduced and the impact is minimized," he said. Roy said the state government has bought four hydraulic ladders, the tallest among them being 66 m high as more and more high-rises are coming up in the city. Andrew Page, the adviser to Tata Steel Managing Director, said he has observed a "refreshing change" in the safety culture in Kolkata, where people are becoming more safety compliant and adherence to safety rules appeared greater than ever before. Sandeep Fuller, Chairman, CII Eastern Region Safety Task Force, said, "Effective safety programmes in workplaces deliver a broad range of business benefits, including increased productivity, staff retention and greater employee engagement - things which go a long way in ensuring sustainability, productivity and profitability of an organization." Vilas Gaikwad, Co-Chairman, CII Eastern Region Safety Task Force, said the cost of prevention of accidents and mishaps is much less than the costs that result from them and the accompanying medical expenses. "In other words, the benefits of a safe workplace in terms of employees' sentiment as well as business costs outweigh the investment a business may make to create a safe workplace." A CII report 'Leadership Challenges in Managing Contractor induced Risk at Workplaces,' was unveiled on the occasion.
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