Sparks fly over fire safety issue at Auto Expo 2012

While the Delhi Fire Services refuse to grant NOC to organisers, the latter say the show must go on

Despite an adage that advises to the contrary, it seems organisers of big-ticket events in the Capital like to play with fire.

Top gear: Acclaimed manufacturers from 24 countries are participating
in the 11th edition of the event. Pic/Rajeev Tyagi

The 2012 India Auto Expo, held once every two years, begins in Delhi's Pragati Maidan today (it opens to general visitors till January 7). With 10 global car launches slated and acclaimed manufacturers from 24 countries participating, the 11th edition of the event is looking to set new benchmarks.

However, amid all the hype and hoopla, the organisers seem to have overlooked one issue. The event has so far not received a no objection certificate (NOC) from Delhi Fire Services (DFS), with the department pointing out several loopholes on the safety front. DFS says the organisers have ignored certain concerns that could lead to disaster.

"We were approached by the organisers on December 30, 2011. But they have not fulfilled the fire safety norms. We have pointed out shortcomings in various halls and pavilions, but they have not taken corrective measures yet," said Delhi Fire Services Department Chief AK Sharma.

Hot spot
According to DFS many of the halls have been covered up temporarily and can prove hazardous in case of a blaze. Also, several hydrants are not getting proper water supply, leading to the decision on the NOC.

"Officers from our department even visited the expo on Wednesday afternoon but found most of the hangars were not ready. There are many temporary structures, which are still work-in-progress. So we have not issued a clearance certificate," Sharma added.

Meanwhile, an official from Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), co-organisers of the event, said, "We have the necessary clearance and this will be a successful show."

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