Shaken out of stupor by the devastating fire at an illegal structure in Surat that claimed 22 lives, the Gujarat government on Sunday asked the builders of more than 9,000 properties in the state, including over 1,100 in the diamond city, to equip themselves with fire safety installations within three days or face closure.
"It is a bad wake up call, but we will initiate strict action to ensure this does not happen again anywhere. We are very sad about the fire in Surat," Gujarat Chief Secretary J.N. Singh told reporters here.
He said that notices have been issued to 9,965 properties in Gujarat and as many as 713 teams have been deployed for the purpose.
Singh said between Saturday and Sunday, the authorities have sealed at least 50 properties in Surat for various violations of fire safety norms. As many as 1,123 properties in Surat have been issued notices by the authorities for adhering to the fire safety norms.
Singh said Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who had immediately rushed to Surat on Friday after the fire tragedy, was "very disturbed and wants strictest action."
As many as 22 students studying at an arts coaching centre on the covered terrace, which became the fourth floor, of a three-storey building Takshashila Arcade in Surat's Sarthana area lost their lives in the huge fire on Friday. They were in the age group of 14 to 17 years.
Fourteen students were still undergoing treatment at four different hospitals in Surat and three of them were admitted in the intensive care unit (ICU), official sources said.
The state Chief Secretary said the Surat Municipal Corporation has already suspended Deputy Chief Fire Officer S.K. Acharya and Fire Officer Kirti Modh for ignoring fire safety norms on the dome of the fourth floor of the building. The building did not have a no-objection certificate from the fire department.
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