‘Footwear, bangle manufacturers not following fire safety norms’
More than one third of the footwear factories running in Agra are facing serious fire hazard as they have not taken fire safety certificates from chief fire office of Agra.
"Out of the 500 shoe manufacturers, comprising both organized and semi-organized setups, it is mostly the small shoemaking units running without administrative permission that don't have the fire safety certificates," said Jasveer Singh, chief fire officer.
"Though the majority of large scale shoe manufacturers have renewed their NOCs, we still find laxity in their approach towards fire safety. For example, we have to persistently ask them to put up a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), a documented chart, that contains information on the potential hazards (health, fire, reactivity and environmental) and how to work safely with the chemical products," he added.
Singh said that factories are advised to conduct regular mock drills so that workers are aware of what needs to be done in case of a fire hazard. "At present, we have identified 30 small scale and unauthorized shoe factories in Agra but the number can exceed hundred," he added.
Speaking to TOI, the coordinator of Agra footwear manufacturers & exporters chamber, Col R K Khindri, said, "All the 104 factories registered under the AFMEC are following the fire safety norms, but we can't commit about other unorganized shoe manufactures.
As for the condition of glass and bangle manufacturers in Firozabad, CFO Mangesh Kumar said, "Hardly any factory of glass and bangle making is following the fire safety norms in the district, putting scores of lives at risk."
"We are running an awareness campaign for citizens to make them aware of the probability of fire hazards in such working conditions," he added.
Meanwhile, the chief fire officer Mathura, Deepak Sharma, claimed that there were no defaulters in the area under his jurisdiction. However, on October 18, 2013, a person was killed and three others were taken ill following leakage of gas in the Mathura refinery during a maintenance operation and on May 9, 2013 four oil tankers were gutted in fire near the Mathura refinery.