The Delhi government has suspended the fire safety clearance of 30 out of 45 hotels in Karol Bagh, which will have to close until a new clearance is given, The Indian Express reported on Saturday. The move came a few days after a massive fire at Hotel Arpit Palace in the area led to the deaths of 17 people, including a child.
This also means that the hotels’ health trade licences stand cancelled.
Delhi Home Minister Satyendar Jain said the fire department had inspected 23 hotels on February 13, of which 13 were found to be violating fire safety norms. “The next day, 17 hotels out of 22 were found to have violated rules,” he said. “We have written to the municipal corporation and the police to take steps to seal them.”
Six teams of the fire department, consisting of two members each, conducted the inspection that will continue in the coming days. Jain said the department will intensify its drive against hotels violating norms to prevent such incidents from occurring again.
The Delhi Police on Tuesday had arrested the hotel’s general manager and manager in connection with the fire, which was reportedly caused by a short circuit.
Jain on Saturday expressed surprise at why the police have so far been unable to arrest the owner, who is still absconding, ANI reported. “He [the owner] probably belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party, that is why he has not been arrested till now,” alleged Jain. The BJP-led central government controls the Delhi Police.
The minister said the government is planning to change the fire safety regulations to make them stricter, The Times of India reported. “We are planning to make some changes in the existing fire safety norms to ensure better fire safety at the hotels and all other buildings,” he said. “The changes would be made within a week.”