Alert and equipped, all Delhi Fire Services (DFS) officials will stand guard on the New Year’s Eve, with adequate deployment of fire tenders and emergency response vehicles. The officials have also been asked to carry out inspections and surprise visits at restaurants and pubs in their areas.A day after DNA reported that only three outlets in the Hauz Khas Village and four in the Khan Market have fire safety clearance, the Delhi Fire Services claimed to have taken sufficient preventive measures. The fact came to the fore a day after a tragic fire incident unfolded in Mumbai, killing 14 people.DFS chief fire officer Atul Garg said: “All DFS offices have been asked to carry out the inspection and make surprise visits at restaurants and pubs in their respective areas, especially at crowded places. It has also been decided that fire tenders will be placed at standby at all prominent places on the New Year’s Eve.”A day before the New Year’s bash, DNA carried out a ground reality check and visited Delhi’s party hubs to speak to owners, authorities, and Delhiites who are planning to head out to celebrate the New Year.Rajat Arora, who owns a cafe in Khan Market, said: “We have all the mechanisms ready, with fire censors in the roofs, to tackle any kind of mishap. Also, we plan to allow only a limited number of guests, so that there is no overcrowding.”Even as restaurant owners claimed to have the mechanisms in place, most of these eateries and restobars built on the first and second floors are like ticking bombs with narrow entries and only a single exit, sources said.Similarly in Connaught Place, where the civic body sealed 22 rooftop restobars earlier this year after two consecutive incidents of roof collapse, including one at the popular Unplugged Courtyard in the middle circle, only a handful have fire NOCs.Officials of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), the civic body governing Lutyen’s Delhi, said they had recieved applications from owners to de-seal the rooftops for the New Year’s Eve, but they have denied these requests.Cafe owners at Hauz Khas Village, one of the city’s most popular hang out and party zone in south Delhi, which attracts thousands of youths and families every night, have their own ways to tackle a fire mishap.Most restaurants and bars in these neighbourhoods, which are usually booked in advance for New Year’s eve, have single exit-entry points with no proper ventilation.Speaking to DNA, SK Jain, owner of building number 30 in HKV that houses more than a dozen cafes, said they have their own fire safety measures.”We know mishaps take place on New Year eve, and fire is the most common one. Hauz Khas gets really crowded as its a party hotspot for youth. But, we are well equipped and prepared,” Jain said.He further showed the fire control panel system, which is set up in the basement of the building. When DNA checked the building, it had two exits and three fire equipment were fitted in the building and all were in a working condition.Jain further stated that the building has a underground tank, which has 40,000 litre of water stored, and a rooftop tank with 30,000 litre water. All cafes in the building have ordered more fire extinguishers for safety purpose.” Hauz Khas Village is my favorite place to party and hang out as it has a lot of good cafes. We should get practical about fire incidents. Places where there are fire security measures in place can witness an incident as well,” Rachna Luthra said.CIVIC BODY ON TOESSDMC has taken many precautionary measures for New Year’s Eve celebrations. South Delhi houses the largest number of hi-end restobars and pubs. The civic body held a high-level meeting in this regard and asked the deputy commisioners of its four zones to constitute ward-wise teams to inspect all big and small restaurants, banquet halls and premises. As per a check list, the teams will find out about fire extinguishers, alarm systems, water hydrants, emergency exits, and staircases.
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