KARACHI: The district administration of Karachi South on Saturday established a task force to check fire prevention and safety measures in high-rise buildings and commercial establishments in the business district of the city to determine the causes of frequent fire incidents and suggest corrective measures.

Official sources said that the task force formed in compliance with the Sindh High Court order would also ensure corrections in gaps identified in buildings and factories in coordination with all stakeholders.

They said that the chief fire officer of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, deputy director of Civil Defence, deputy director of the Sindh Building Control Authority, assistant commissioners of Saddar, Civil Lines, Arambagh, Garden and Lyari, DSP Police Traffic and Regional Transport Authority secretary were included in the task force.

The sources added that on the directives of Deputy Commissioner South Irshad Ali Sodhar the first meeting of the task force was held with the additional deputy commissioner, South, in the chair.

They said that the meeting participants decided that visits for inspection of safety measures in residential and commercial

high-rises shall be carried out and recommendation shall be made where safety measures were inadequate.

The sources said that it was also decided that building/site plans shall only be approved where buildings have fire safety mechanism in the structures and no exceptions would be made in this regard.

They said that the task force decided that completion certificate would only be issued after verification of fire safety mechanism by the relevant authorities.

It was maintained that fire safety trainings would be imparted to the administrations of apartments and commercial establishments.

The sources said that the campaign would be launched to sensitise the general public about hazards and fire safety.

Commenting on the issue, the DC South stated that district South was commercial hub where many high-rise buildings were located, besides old and congested residential areas needed proper fire safety measures.

He said that the district administration had launched a campaign after formation of the task force for the implementation of the SHC orders.

The DC further stated that officials of the Civil Defence, fire department and SBCA had jointly conducted the survey of Allah Walla Market and Mustafa Market to ascertain fire safety measures.

He said that all assistant commissioners of South district were assigned to lead the campaign in their towns without any leniency in ascertaining the fire safety measures in residential and commercial buildings.

Mr Sodhar recalled the fire incident in Regent Plaza and said that recent inspection of the hotel found that fire safety measures had been adopted in the establishment.

He said that inspection had been conducted by the task force in Saddar, Mir Mohammad Baloch Road and Lyari.

The deputy commissioner said that the fire department of DMC South was being upgraded with latest equipment and machinery along with training of manpower according to international standards.

He vowed to complete the inspection of commercial and residential buildings in the district at the earliest and ensure corrective measures to save lives and property.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2021

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