Chennai Silks Fire, the Culprits Found

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The fire at Chennai Silks is sadly a burning example of how political instability in a state can reduce its residents hope to ashes. The report reveals lack of fire regulations in the Chennai Silks and the other formations and constructions in the commercial hub was not acted on, because of the chaotic political situation in Tamil Nadu State. This declaration comes from the Secretary of the Urban Development and Housing Department.

The T. Nagar Residents Welfare Association have already filed a writ petition in February 2017. In reply to that petition, the secretary stated that the recommendations given by the Justice Rajeswaran Committee on the regularization of the unauthorized buildings are yet to be approved by the government. He stated that it will take some time for the government to take a final decision because of the political situation in the State.

The Justice Rajeswaran Committee, had been formed by the Madras High Court after the fire safety audit in T. Nagar which revealed that at least 10 commercial establishments had flouted norms set by the Government. The list includes all the big brands like Chennai Silks, Pothys, Saravana Stores, Saravana Gold House, Sri Kumaran Gold house, Nalli Trust, RMKV stores, and Jayachandran Textiles. The purpose of the committee was to provide a wise solution. It is their responsibility to frame the rules and the guidelines for the regularization of these unauthorized buildings.

“The committee’s report was ready by October 2015,” says Kannan, the secretary of the T. Nagar Residents’ Welfare Association. “The public was consulted in the matter and we also gave our opinions and possible solutions to this mess,” he adds.

By November 30, 2015, the public also joined hands to help out but a presentation to the Chief Secretary and the senior level officers in the government was made only 7 months later. The process was delayed.

“They brought the lawyers like Kapil Sibal, Ashwani Kumar and Aryama Sundaram to court and demanded that a monitoring committee set up by the government look into the report. They didn’t even give a copy of the report to the court or even to me. The judge then agreed to their demand because the government has to approve the rules,” he says.

The Minister Jayakumar comes up to the media and claims, “The government is working 24×7 to resolve this issue and those responsible will be punished.”