PANAJI: Nearly 700-800 applications have been received by the fire department since April 1 for the grant of no-objection-certificate (NOC) following the district collector’s directives to not renew or grant new licenses unless traders get the fire clearance.
The department has been conducting inspections after receiving request for fire clearance and has also started issuing fire NOCs after receiving payment of fee of Rs 150.
The department recommends 4 kg capacity ABC powder type fire extinguisher for grocery stores which is priced between Rs 2,000 and Rs 2,500 while for wine shops it is recommended to have a liquid form carbon dioxide (CO2) extinguisher, which is priced between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000.
The fire department says that not a single trader from the new municipal market has applied for fire NOC thereby risking the lives of themselves and visitors in case of fire exigencies.
According to CCP records, renewal of nearly 2,500-3,000 trade licenses has been put on hold since April, due to the lack of fire department clearances. But there are no records available with them on the number of shops and establishments that actually require fire NoCs.
The CCP in the absence of authentic figures has allowed several establishments to do business without requisite trade licenses.
However it is estimated that there are atleast 15,000 eateries, hotels, restaurants and bars, private offices, and shops in the city but the traders association has alleged that although registered traders have to do all renewals and pay taxes, there are some traders without trade licenses were allowed to operate illegally in the market.
There has been a hue and cry from traders association criticizing the move of the district collector stating fire NOC should be restricted to only bars and restaurants and not to any other establishments.
“There are thousands of such commercial establishments which operate illegally and do not comply with fire safety measures. This is happening as there is no proper monitoring system in place. Hence, we have started the exercise in collecting the name, address and nature of business of the traders by visiting each of them to expose the CCP maladministration,” said the convener of Panaji Hotel and Traders Association, Barnabe Sapeco.
Source:: The Navhind Times