It has been more than a year since the Mantralaya fire gutted the building and many important documents, but the government has not learned the critical lesson of taking precautions. The new Regional Transport Office (RTO) in Andheri, which was inaugurated a year back, has no sprinklers or smoke detectors.
The RTO building in Andheri has no sprinklers or smoke detectors
Moreover, while the office is 75,000 square feet, public documents that are received every day are still stacked up here haphazardly on desks, as if there is no space. When mid-day visited the new office, we saw that while there are water hoses near the staircase of the building, the office lacks smoke detectors, and most areas of the building do not have sprinklers.
Absence of a proper fire alarm system is a cause of worry, as every day the RTO receives thousands of crucial papers from people applying driving licences and all of them could be destroyed in case of a fire incident.
“Authorities should understand that many people come to the RTO and submit important documents every day. A fire breakout would be dangerous not only to human life but also for the important documents and files, which could get charred,” said Ratnakar Sawant, an Andheri resident who visited the RTO last week.
Moreover, heaps of documents were stashed in empty corners, and sometimes piled over cupboards. An official from the office, on the condition of anonymity, said, “While the new office is more spacious than the old one, there are not enough cupboards to keep the documents.”
PG Bhalerao, regional transport officer (Andheri), said, “We have sprinklers in the basement, but I don’t think there is an alarm system in the building. We have repeatedly asked the contractor to provide a record room where we can keep the documents safely, but till now nothing has been done.”