The Gurugram fire department will conduct an audit of all cinema halls and multiplexes in the city to check whether these commercial establishments are complying with the fire safety norms, said officials.
During a review meeting held by the Haryana government on fire safety audit in Chandigarh on Tuesday, state chief secretary Sanjeev Kaushal directed the officials concerned to conduct the “special audit” for fire safety at all cinema halls and multiplexes across the state.
Gulshan Kalra, deputy director (technical) of Haryana Fire and Emergency Services (HFES), who also heads the Gurugram fire department, on Wednesday issued a letter to all the fire departments across Haryana to start the audit on an immediate basis, and complete it within the next 15 days.
“A letter was issued to all the fire departments in Haryana today for conducting a special audit of all cinema halls and multiplexes in their respective districts. Each of them has been asked to submit a report on their findings within the next three weeks, and required action will be taken at the earliest. The directions have been issued to complete implementation of all measures within a stipulated time period, in a bid to avoid loss of lives and property,” said Kalra, adding that an audit of all state universities and buildings under the Haryana State Agricultural Marketing Board will also be conducted soon.
According to fire department officials, there are at least 20 multiplexes and cinema halls in Gurugram. The move came, keeping in mind the 25th anniversary of the Uphaar Cinema tragedy, which happened on June 13, 1997, said a senior HFES official, who asked not to be named. A total of 59 people had died after the cinema hall at Delhi’s Green Park caught fire.
A senior official of the Gurugram fire department, meanwhile, said that the “audit of all cinema halls and multiplexes in Gurugram was unlikely to yield major deficiencies or shortcomings, as the department inspects all such commercial establishments every six months”.
“In 2019, the district administration directed the Gurugram fire department to conduct an audit of all places which records a high footfall, including cinema halls and multiplexes on a biannual basis, as a precautionary measure. It has continued to do so since then… So, cinema halls and multiplexes are likely to comply with the fire safety norms,” said the official, requesting anonymity.
According to the 2022 Haryana Fire Safety Act, which was amended in April, all commercial establishments should renew their fire NOC (no objection certificate) every three years. It also allows fire officials to conduct surprise inspections on commercial buildings at any point during the three years. Prior to this, such establishments had to renew their fire NOCs annually.