No safety norms despite HC orders: Gujarat Congress on Rajkot fire

State Congress chief alleges government overlooked safety concerns in return for bribes

Smoke rises from the fire (photo: @arvindratangips/X)
Smoke rises from the fire (photo: @arvindratangips/X)

NH Digital

The tragic fire at a gaming zone in Rajkot, which has so far claimed the lives of over 30 people, including nine children, has sparked serious concerns about the facility's safety standards.

The amusement centre lacked proper safety measures and had only one exit, said Gujarat Congress chief Shakti Sinh Gohil.

"Despite repeated instructions from the high court, the BJP government did not implement adequate fire safety measures. The government is mired in corruption, accepting bribes and ignoring laws, which endangers people's lives," stated Gohil.

The gaming zone, named TRP, was crowded due to a weekend discount offer with tickets priced at just Rs 99. While it is suspected that the fire may have been caused by a short circuit, officials have stated that the exact cause will be determined after a thorough investigation.

"The reason for the fire has yet to be ascertained. The attempts to douse the fire are underway. We are facing difficulty in the firefighting operation because the temporary structure has collapsed and also owing to wind velocity," a fire department official said.

The intensity of the fire was such that smoke was visible from several kilometres away, Gohil said.

Officials said DNA samples from the bodies and the victim's relatives have been collected for identification.

According to Gujarat media, the gaming zone lacked the necessary licenses to operate and did not have a no-objection certificate (NOC) on fire clearance from the Rajkot Municipal Corporation. This regulatory non-compliance has come under sharp scrutiny following the disaster.

Rajkot mayor Nayna Pedhadiya, who arrived at the scene to oversee rescue operations, confirmed the absence of a fire NOC. "We will investigate how such a large gaming zone was functioning without a fire NOC, and we are witnessing the consequences. No politics will be allowed over this issue," Pedhadiya declared.

The facility had only one emergency exit, and there was panic when the fire broke out. "People were trapped as a temporary structure at the facility collapsed near the entrance, making it difficult for them to escape," Rajkot fire officer Ilesh Kher told media.

The owner and manager of the TRP game zone have been arrested for questioning. In the wake of the fire tragedy, the state director-general of police has instructed commissioners and superintendents of police to inspect all gaming zones in Gujarat and close those operating without fire safety permission.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Congress general-secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra expressed their condolences to the bereaved families and demanded an investigation into the incident.

“And, it is expected from the Gujarat government and administration that they should conduct a detailed and impartial investigation of this incident and provide speedy justice to all the bereaved families,” wrote Rahul Gandhi on X.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines