Mint Quick Edit | Poor fire safety is something India should have left behind

At least seven babies were killed and others injured after a fire erupted at a children’s hospital in Delhi late on Saturday night. (ANI)
At least seven babies were killed and others injured after a fire erupted at a children’s hospital in Delhi late on Saturday night. (ANI)

Summary

  • The Delhi children's hospital fire and gaming arcade blaze in Rajkot, Gujarat, should remind us just how poor safety arrangements in India are and our weak adherence to civic regulations. A country aiming for developed status should do better.

At least seven babies were killed and others injured after a fire erupted at a children’s hospital in Delhi late on Saturday night. Earlier during the day, at least 27 people including minors were killed in Gujarat’s Rajkot city when a blaze broke out in a gaming arcade

While the exact causes of the two fires are to be determined, they remind us just how poor safety arrangements in India typically are and the country’s habitually weak adherence to civic regulations. It is tragic that so many lives are lost so often to preventable disasters. Each time, a hue and cry arises for a few days and then it’s business as usual, as if such urban infernos are not man-made occurrences or somebody else’s problem to fix even if they are. 

That way, fire tragedies are treated like global warming often is. This must change. As with high road-traffic mortality, poor fire safety in the country glares out for a middle-income country with developed status aspirations. Ritual promises of an overhaul must give way to an upwards leap in our fire-safety standards. Does the third tier of governance in India need empowerment for this? Whatever the answer, we can’t afford any lethargy on fire safety. The status quo is too hazardous.

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