Opposition parties, including the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress on Saturday demanded a high-level probe into the fire incident in a multi-storey building near Mundka metro station in West Delhi that claimed the lives of 27 people the day before. The parties have also asked for increasing the compensation to the families of those deceased, news agency PTI reported.
The Delhi BJP has sought an inquiry by a retired high court judge, alleging laxity on part of agencies concerned and a delay in offering timely aid. The party’s Delhi unit chief Adesh Gupta said, according to the PTI report, that if fire tenders had reached the spot on time, several lives would have been saved.
“If cranes and ladders had arrived on time, people wouldn’t have jumped from the roof,” Gupta was quoted as saying.
Leader of opposition in Delhi assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri echoed Gupta, and called for an inquiry into the alleged delay by fire tenders and other violations.
“It should be investigated why the fire brigade arrived late. While the information about the incident was given at 4.40 PM on Friday, the people present there said that the fire brigade came late by an hour. Even the police had to carry out the rescue operation with the help of local people,” Bidhuri alleged.
Several BJP leaders, including Gupta, party MLA Vijender Gupta and local MP Hans Raj Hans visited the fire site earlier on Saturday. They met the kin of the deceased and the injured.
Officials of Delhi Fire Services (DFS) said that the firefighting and rescue work was affected owing to heavy traffic and the congested location of the building that was in flames, PTI reported.
Delhi Congress leaders have demanded that the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) regime in the national capital increase the compensation amount for the families of those deceased to ₹25 lakh and for the injured persons to ₹5 lakh.
Chief minister Kejriwal has announced a compensation of ₹10 lakh to the victims’ kin and ₹50,000 to those injured. He has also directed a magisterial probe into the fire tragedy, adding that “stringent action” will be taken against whoever is responsible. He had visited the fire site earlier today along with deputy CM Manish Sisodia.
Congress leader Parvez Alam claimed that corruption seemed to have taken place in giving the completion certificate to the building. He asked if the building did not have a fire clearance, how it was permitted to run as a commercial hub.
The DFS said on Saturday that the building did not have a fire clearance or no-objection certificate (NOC).
At least 27 people have so far died and 12 sustained injuries in the fire tragedy. DFS chief Atul Garg said that the death toll can go up as more charred remains were recovered from inside the building during rescue operations on Saturday. Delhi Police said they are conducting DNA testing to ascertain the identity of the deceased persons, and so far, as many as seven bodies have been positively identified.
A total of 20 are currently missing, including four men and 24 women.
Owners of the company that operated from the first floor of the three-storied building have been arrested by Delhi Police. However, the owner of the building, who has been identified as Manish Lakra, is absconding. Sameer Sharma, deputy commissioner of police (outer district) said that teams are on the lookout for Lakra and he will too be nabbed.