Rajkot game zone fire: Gujarat HC criticises city civic body over fire incident

27 May,2024 06:16 PM IST |  Ahmedabad  |  mid-day online correspondent

Gujarat HC ordered current and prior RMC commissioners, from July 2021 until the Rajkot game zone fire date, to write affidavits explaining their activities.

Rescue operations were conducted following Rajkot game zone fire/ PTI

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The Gujarat High Court strongly chastised the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) on Monday for the game zone fire that claimed 27 lives, saying it had lost faith in the state machinery, which acts only after lives are lost.

The special bench of Justices Biren Vaishnav and Devan Desai, hearing a suo motu PIL on the Rajkot game zone fire, questioned whether the RMC had overlooked the building of the TRP game zone because it had not obtained the appropriate approvals. The court ordered that all Rajkot municipal commissioners from 2021 to the present be held accountable and submit separate affidavits, reported PTI.

According to the report, on Saturday evening, a fire broke out at the TRP game zone in Rajkot's Nana-Mava area, killing 27 people, including children. The facility lacked the necessary fire NOC (No Objection Certificate).

The High Court took suo motu cognisance of the Rajkot game zone fire on Sunday, describing it as a "man-made disaster". On Monday, the court noted that it had lost faith in the state machinery, adding that despite earlier court rulings, this was the sixth similar instance. The court questioned the RMC's knowledge of the game zone's existence and its failure to enforce fire safety rules. The bench questioned why the RMC had not moved over the previous two and a half years, despite the game zone's functioning and ticket sales, the report added.

"Who will take such drastic steps? Honestly speaking, we do not have faith in the state machinery now. Four years after orders of this court, directing them, after their assurance, this is the sixth incident that has happened. They only want lives to be lost and then trigger the machinery," the bench said.

The bench asked, "You were blind to that...this big structure existed, you were not aware of it? What is the corporation's explanation that the whole zone existed for the last two-and-a-half years? What fire safety did they apply for? When ticketing was done, were you aware of the entertainment tax? So we take it that you are completely turning a blind eye to the whole issue?"

"Till then you were completely ignorant of such a structure in the vicinity? Were you not aware of the orders of this court for fire safety (passed) in a PIL? What were you doing then? There are media reports that your municipal commissioner went there at the time of the inauguration. We can't take judicial notice of that fact? For 18 months, what did the corporation do? Sat over it?" the bench asked.

The court ordered the current and prior RMC commissioners, from July 2021 until the Rajkot game zone fire date, to write affidavits explaining their activities. It further instructed the chief fire officers of Ahmedabad, Vadodara, Surat, and Rajkot to file affidavits about fire safety measures in their respective jurisdictions.

With PTI inputs

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