Govt agreeable to 30-day extension against demand of 90 days; Also demand that pre-condition of deploying fire safety equipment for renewal of trade licences be relaxed
PANJIM: Hours after a group of entrepreneurs, led by a BJP leader approached Chief Secretary Dharmendra Sharma, seeking extension of a deadline for implementing fire safety norms at their establishments, the State government partially agreed to their demand.
In January, the North Goa Disaster Management Authority (DMA) had asked commercial establishments and beach shacks to comply with fire safety norms by January 31. At a review meeting chaired by North Collector and DMA Chairperson Nila Mohanan, local bodies were directed to ensure compliance to fire safety norms by the establishments in the district before granting them permission to operate, and not to renew trade licenses of defaulting establishments.
The representation to the CS, that comes after the deadline, and the delegation led by BJP spokesperson Dattaprasad Naik urged that the pre-condition of deploying fire safety equipment for renewal of trade licences be relaxed and that the timeframe for implementation of the norms be extended by 90 days. They also asked that panchayats, municipalities and Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) may be asked to create committees to interact with the traders and arrive at a consensus.
The CS agreed to partially consider their demands after a meeting with Mohanan and Director of Fire & Emergency Services Ashok Menon. Naik said that the CS directed the fire department to consider the relaxation to shops below 50 sq mtrs along with relaxation in ownership documents.
Government sources told Herald that the CS has directed the North Collector to put up a note to him extending the time limit by 30 days. It was also decided to instruct the local bodies to start issuing trade licenses by taking an undertaking from traders that compliance of the fire safety norms would be done within 30 days.
Reason cited by traders was that those registered in panchayats and municipal councils are largely small/marginal traders with small quantum of turnover. Moreover, businesses are largely situated in rented premises or in temporary sheds and traders would find it difficult to install necessary equipments and would face hardships if compelled to do so in a strict time-frame.
They also submitted that non-renewal of their trade licences would add to their hardships and directly impact their dependant families.
Naik justified the demand stating that ‘the party is of the view that safety of life and property from the peril of fire breakout must be ensured on priority. However, in doing so the concerns of small/ marginal traders/vendors also must be given its due concern’.