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Rajkot fire: Gujarat CM asks officials to stop illegal construction from very beginning

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Ahmedabad: Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel on Thursday asked officials and elected representatives to pay attention to people’s complaints and stop illegal construction at the very beginning, referring to the Rajkot fire that claimed 27 lives last month.
Speaking at a function to distribute grants to municipalities and civic corporations in Gandhinagar district, he said a single mistake can wipe out the good work being done by the government.
“Following the Rajkot fire, I was wondering though we work so hard, we end up committing a mistake. Human life must be given top priority and there should be no compromise over it, be it by government officials or elected representatives. This is the only way to avoid such situations in the future,” Patel said.
Any type of illegal construction must be stopped at the very beginning itself, the CM underscored.
“This will make things easier for both the government and the owner of the property. On the other hand, if the construction goes on and illegal structures come up, it becomes difficult for us to deal with it,” Patel said.
Urging officials and elected representatives to pay attention to citizens’ complaints, Patel, however, cautioned against people who keep filing complaints out of ulterior motives to stop development.
“People keep sending us complaints. Nowadays, they take videos and send them to us to draw our attention to any wrongdoing. So, you don’t have to go out and look for violations… You just need to pay attention to those complaints. This will also improve monitoring,” said Patel. He said one mistake can wipe out all the good work that the government is doing. The CM also praised the role of the media in drawing the government’s attention to such issues.
Patel informed the audience that in the wake of the Rajkot game zone fire, his government has prepared draft rules that seek to ensure safety at such recreation facilities.
He added that the ‘The Gujarat Amusement Rides and Gaming Zone Activities (Safety) Rules-2024’ have been put in the public domain inviting people’s suggestions and objections.
As many as 27 persons, including children, were charred to death in a massive fire that gutted TRP Game Zone in Rajkot city on May 25. A probe found that the facility did not have the ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) from the municipal fire department.
Following the tragedy, the state government formed an SIT headed by senior IPS officer Subhash Trivedi to find out what triggered the fire, loopholes in the system and suggest steps to prevent such incidents in the future.
Several game zones and other recreation hubs were sealed across the state after the incident and FIRs were also registered against their owners for running such facilities without necessary permission.
So far, police have arrested five co-owners of the game zone and four government officials for alleged negligence and dereliction of duty.

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