INDUSTRIAL FIRE SAFETY: Only 2 factory inspectors for Kashmir’s 430 units

Safety measures lacking in Industrial Estates

SAQIB MALIK
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 24 2017 1:16AM | Updated Date: Nov 24 2017 1:16AM
INDUSTRIAL FIRE SAFETY: Only 2 factory inspectors for Kashmir’s 430 unitsFile Photo

Despite sharp increase in fire incidents across Kashmir, the manufacturing units continue to be vulnerable with only two factory inspectors designated to keep a check on the industrial safety measures, especially fire safety.   

Facing a major resource crunch, Inspector of Factories and Boilers, which is a part of Labour Department, has only two inspectors to handle 430 registered factories across Kashmir division including Ladakh.

An official, wishing anonymity, said many ill-equipped industrial units go unchecked since there are not enough sub-inspectors and resource crunch such as unavailability of a vehicle for inspectors also adds to the hurdles.        

“Many small, medium and even large industrial units located inside and outside industrial estates are completely unaware about basic fire safety norms. When these factories get registration of District Industries Center, they are only asked to get ‘No Objection Certificates’ from Pollution Control Board etc and told nothing about firefighting. The entire onus of keeping a check on safety completely lies with Inspector of Factories which is facing manpower crunch,” the official said.

The Inspector of Factories established after implementation of Factory Rules in Jammu and Kashmir has a total of seven employees in Kashmir which includes two factory inspectors, two senior and two junior assistants and an orderly.

“Such is the irony that the Inspector of Factories does not even have an official vehicle allotted. Inspectors have to travel across various industrial estates and factories and do it on their own,” the official said.  He said various proposals have been moved for adding more sub-inspectors to the department but to no avail. “It has been brought to the notice of successive Labour Commissioners' that Directorate of Factory Inspectors and Boilers is facing resource crunch but nothing has been done so far,” the official said.     

According to Fire and Emergency Services Department, out of the 2130 fire incidents, reported till October this year, with losses amounting to Rs 47.74 crore many incidents have taken place at flammable factories and industries. “There are many fire incidents at plywood and foam making units but only a handful of these industrial units adhere to fire safety norms. Many don't have fire extinguishers at their units and a lot of them have expired ones,” said Deputy Director Fire and Emergency Services, Srinagar, Muhammad Akbar Dar.

As per F&ES, in 2016 there were 3625 incidents of fire with losses worth Rs 87.41 crore while 2333 incidents of fire had taken place in 2015 amounting to losses worth Rs 60 crore. Dar said among highly inflammable and flammable industries includes foam manufacturing, transformer making units, spinning and weaving factories, petroleum depots, roller floor mills, spices factories, units dealing with chemicals. 

When contacted, Labour Commissioner, J&K, Abdul Rashid said two factory inspectors are sufficient for carrying out the inspections.  “There are two inspectors of factories in Jammu and two in Kashmir. These are the posts we have and suffice the work at hand,” Rashid said.