NCP students' wing demands structural audits of Mumbai University colleges
Students' organisations have raised concern over running of canteens and science laboratories on college premises
In view of the increasing number of fire incidents in the city, the NCP's students' wing has submitted a letter to the Mumbai University (MU) vice-chancellor, demanding a complete structural audit of colleges affiliated to the varsity. This moves comes after student organisations raised concerns over the running of canteens in colleges and the multiple purposes the premises are used for, including the functioning of science laboratories.
Sources said that considering the safety of students, MU has made the fire audits under the Local Inquiry Committee (LIC) compulsory. After a short circuit gutted the entire library of Sydenham Institute of Management and Research last year, LIC was asked to conduct fire audits of colleges. However, now demands have been raised for complete structural audits.
Amol Matele, president of NCP students' wing, said, "The LIC visits are quite irregular, considering the huge number of colleges in the city. Even though there are regulations in place that canteens and their equipment cannot be used for any other purpose, yet workers are allowed to stay there. Moreover, there are no guidelines on how gas cylinders should be stored. Apart from this, some or the other construction work is always happening on college premises, increasing the risk of fire incidents."
He further said, "Over the last three years, more than 15,000 fire incidents have happened in Mumbai and 80 per cent of them were due to short circuits. Most of the time, they were not just accidents, but incidents that happened due to the authorities' failure to abide by fire safety rules."
"The Kamala Mills fire taught the city that exit plans are equally important in order to avert such incidents. This is why we need complete structural audits and not just fire audits. The VC has assured us that a positive decision will be taken in this regard," he added. Dr Devanand Shinde, vice-chancellor, said, "Such a request letter has been submitted. We will look into it."