Gujarat Congress demands accountability in Rajkot fire tragedy


Team Udayavani, May 27, 2024, 6:14 PM IST

The Gujarat Congress on Monday demanded that senior civic and state officials and office-bearers of the ruling BJP be named in the FIR registered in the Rajkot game zone fire that claimed 27 lives.

 

Addressing a press conference, state Congress president Shaktisinh Gohil also asked the government to consider giving “generous” compensation to the kin of those killed saying the majority of the families belong to humble backgrounds. Gohil’s statement came soon after the state government ordered the suspension of six officials for “gross negligence in allowing the game zone to operate without necessary approvals”.

 

The Congress leader said the action was only taken against some low-ranking officials.

 

“In the past, several high-ranking officials, including the Rajkot mayor, collector and municipal commissioner, had visited this place and shared their photographs on social media too. In such a scenario, how can you expect that a junior officer would dare to take action against the game zone management?” asked Gohil.

 

Gohil also shared some photos posted on the Facebook page of the TRP Game Zone, where 27 persons, including four children under the age of 12, were killed in a massive fire on May 25. “In one of the photos taken in 2022, BJP’s office-bearers, including former mayor Pradip Dav, can be seen at TRP Arena. In another photograph, former BJP MLA Arvind Raiyani and some other local BJP leaders can be seen at the same place,” claimed Gohil.

 

There is no meaning in suspending junior-level officers who do not have any powers, he said, demanding that senior civic and state officials and BJP office-bearers be named as accused in the FIR. “We also demand generous compensation for the kin of the deceased,” he said.

 

So far, the state and Centre have announced a cumulative compensation of Rs 6 lakh for the kin of each deceased.

 

The senior Congress leader said there was a time when the Union railway minister and civil aviation minister used to resign after major accidents.

 

He wondered how the officials failed to notice that such a large recreation complex was being run illegally, particularly when the Gujarat High Court had repeatedly asked the government to ensure compliance with fire safety norms at such places.

 

“During our visit to Rajkot on Sunday, we learnt that even if you have installed all the required equipment to deal with fire, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) won’t be issued unless you pay a bribe. And, even if you don’t have anything in place, you can obtain a fire NOC if you are ready to shell out some money,” Gohil alleged.

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