Deadly fire in Hauz Khas Village, a popular touristic spot in New Delhi

The unsolved issue of Indian capital’s unsafe infrastructure


News - India & You

August 25, 2016

/ By / New Delhi

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Some lanes in the Hauz Khas area are so narrow that even a two-wheeler enters with difficulty

Some lanes in the Hauz Khas area are so narrow that even a two-wheeler enters with difficulty

An Indian real estate professional lost his life and a French student suffered burns yesterday, when an immediate fire caught up his house in Hauz Khas Village in South Delhi, India. The area is famous amongst tourists because of trendy restaurants, art galleries and boutiques, but the incident unfolded another side of the place – the infrastructure problem.

Early morning on August 24, 2016, fire absorbed a rented house in Hauz Khas Village (South Delhi) where Gaurav Dhamija, 35, lost his life due to suffocation, whereas his female friend, Anklora, who is a 23 years old student from France, suffered burns but managed to survive.

The fire is believed to be ignited because of short circuit, however the police is yet to confirm the reason.
Hauz Khas is one of the most famous locations in New Delhi known for its fashion and design markets and historical Mughal places, however the fire outbreak exposed another side of the area.

The outbreak occurred around 5.30 am, but fire engines reached the location an hour after the incident as lanes in the area are so narrow that a two-wheeler enters with difficulty.

According to the Building Bye-Laws for Union Territory of Delhi, 1983, under jurisdiction of Delhi Development Authority, main entrances into lanes cannot measure less than five metres so that fire engines can easily enter during emergencies.

Breaching the laws to a further extent, a cafe on the ground floor of the building was also operating without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department.

However, this is not the first time when construction laws have been overlooked in New Delhi. Accidents from the past have been reported because of unauthorised constructions in the capital.

A three storey building in Karol Bagh (West Delhi) collapsed in July this year leaving three people injured. Another incident from West Delhi was reported in July 2015 where a five storey building collapse left eight people injured while two lost their lives.

Five people were killed and eight were injured early in January, 2012, after another house cracked up in Mundka (West Delhi) because of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinder blast, and the list is endless.

The violation of construction norms in Delhi has left a number of areas vulnerable to disasters. Popular touristic venues like Hauz Khas Village or the very poach Khan Market – often ranked as the costliest retail location in India, but also having congested back lanes, are no exceptions.

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