Major Fire In Delhi’s Mundka: What We Know Till Now
Amid allegations of corruption and inefficiency in the fire department, Delhi LG has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
A major fire broke out at a four-storey building near the Mundka metro station in Delhi. As per the official records, the blaze took 27 lives. Many have been reported missing and may be feared dead.
Eyewitnesses say that the fire brigade reached the spot more than one and a half hours late. By then, the fire had spread in the building uncontrollably. Only charred bodies were found once the fire was doused late in the evening.
There was only one entry and exit point on every floor. Those trapped jumped out of the building using ropes and a crane.
The building did not have a fire NOC or any safety equipment like a fire extinguisher.
There were manufacturing units operating out of the building illegally. The building comes under Lal Dora area which is considered village land. Here, factories or industries are not allowed to operate.
As per Delhi Police, the owner, Manish Lakra, had applied for a licence in 2016, which was later suspended. The owner has been arrested by the police.
In 2019, a liquor store opened in the building. It was sealed by the monitoring committee set up by the Supreme Court to check illegal construction. It was de-sealed after the owner paid a penalty in 2020.
The owners (who are now absconding) of Cofex Impex Private Limited took the first floor on rent in 2018, followed by renting out the second and third floor in 2019 and 2021. They employed more than 100 people.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), the ruling party in Delhi state, alleged that the owner was close to the 2015 assembly election’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Mundka, Master Azad Singh, and enjoyed BJP’s protection.
BJP, however, refuted the claim, saying that the building was sealed and North DMC never issued any factory or storage licence to the concerned building. BJP spokesperson, Praveen Shankar Kapoor, questioned how did the Delhi government provide electricity connection to a non-licensed building and allow the opening up of a liquor shop in the building.
BJP also alleged corruption and inefficiency in Delhi’s fire department.
A survey has been ordered by the North MCD in all zones to find out the legality of factories operating. The survey report is expected to be released within 48 hours.
Delhi LG, Anil Baijal has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident.
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