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Fire exits and Fire fighting equipments Padlocked at Dabolim Airport new terminal

This is an extreme example of immature behavior of Dabolim Airport officials that has been brought to the light by local newspaper, wherein they revealed the gross violation of the safety norms which could result into risk to the life of those passengers using the terminal area. According to the news “The Goa international Airport Building has padlocked fire exits and firefighting equipments which are meant to be used in the case of severe emergencies. When enquired the airport authorities have been claiming that the fire exits are locked for the “SECURITY REASONS”.

The local daily TOI managed to get the documents under RTI which mentioned that “Few doors are locked, but as and when the fire alarm starts the doors will be opened by the CISF shift in-charge.”   “Opening and closing of doors are directly linked with flight operations and other associated factors like passenger movement and other operational requirement,” the airport director’s office explained.

Though the statement of authorities does not match the National Building Clause which mentions that, “The exit doors shall be operable from the side which they serve without the use of a key”. The Code further states, “Locked exit doors in case of an emergency can cause a stampede and kill quite a few people and hence exits must not be locked. Fastenings, if any, used should be of simple type that can be easily operated.” The Deputy Fire Advisor of National Disaster Response Force and civil defence from New Delhi told the media that “According to norms, nobody can lock the fire safety doors. Here (Goa international airport), there is a clear conflict between fire and security. What they can best do is provide for doors that can be opened only from one side. But fire exit gates should not be locked.” Based on this information, it is clear that anything that is selected as an exit door must remain open at all times and should be designed to be opened only from within.

But the Airport authorities seems like using their own wisdom to this and using it otherwise and the Goa Fire Services Department is also equally responsible for this as they have issued the NOC on 15th March certifying that the fire safety norms and arrangements of the equipments at the Airport is operational and meets requirements.  “We did give them a clearance, based on site inspection (audit), but I’m not aware of the last time a fire safety audit was done (at the airport),” Said Nitin Raikar, deputy director, fire services, Panaji.

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According to the information provided by the Airport Director Srinivasa Rao “The CISF personnel who have access control over the area man the exit points. The keys of all doors are available with the on-duty CISF staff posted at the associated area.”

The new building of the Airport terminal is already facing the criticism from the passengers after the recent Collapse of False Ceiling  has further came into limelight with the compromise on the safety norms by violating the laid down codes. The National Building Code is a comprehensive building code for regulating building construction activities across the country. It was drafted by the Bureau of Indian Standards and was first published in 1970. Local governing authorities, such as municipalities, planning and development authorities, along with regulatory bodies such as fire services, pollution control board, etc, help ensure buildings meet the Code’s guidelines.

People always blame media for fueling the issue but what they do not realize is that these efforts of the media is always meant for helping the people around. Considering these violations of the safety norms had not brought to the light by the efforts of the media then people would have realized only after the accidents has taken place. Goa Prism is doing its job by passing on this valuable information to the readers with help of available information from the media world. Please do leave your valuable comments and suggestions on this issue.

Source: TNN originally written by Newton Sequeira   

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