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Surat fire tragedy: NHRC takes suo motu cognizance of media reports


NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Saturday took suo motu cognizance of media reports on the Surat fire tragedy which claimed lives of 20 people, mostly students.

The Commission has issued a notice to Gujarat government and its Chief Secretary Jagdip Narayan Singh seeking a detailed report in the matter. It has also sought status of the criminal cases registered against the building owner and others found guilty and the action taken against the public servants concerned.

Singh has been asked to submit a report on the legal status of the building, its construction, fire fighting measures, fire safety clearance and relief granted to the grief-stricken families. The response from the state government is expected within 4 weeks.

"The Commission also expects that the best and free of cost treatment is provided by the State to the injured persons," NHRC statement read.

Issuing the notice, the NHRC has observed that it has been constantly insisting the authorities to be more vigilant to avoid such tragic incidents.

"Going by the media reports, it appears that there was no safe passage for the victims, which could have been used as a fire exit in case of the emergency. Mere announcement of compensation to the aggrieved families cannot be a solution to such kind of hazards," the Commission said.

Underlying that mere announcement of compensation to the aggrieved families cannot be a solution to such kind of hazards, NHRC said several such incidents have occurred across the country where precious human lives have been lost due to negligence by the authorities and lack of Fire Department's clearance.

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has ordered an investigation and announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh each to the families of those killed. As a precautionary measure, all the tuition centres and coaching centres have been ordered to be closed in the area. The fire hazard checks are also being conducted in various places.