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The Jayanagar Complex Fire - An eye opener

I was pretty surprised not to see a single post on the great Jayanagar Shopping Complex Fire that swept through late friday night on Praja. No Jayanagarites here :-)? First of all, my sympathies towards all the shopkeepers who overnight lost everything that they had and have to start their lives all over again. But seriously this has opened up a pandora's box. Firstly the rent for each of those shops are Rs.300/- per month (read that again) - Rs.300/- only. Second, none of the original allottees seem to run the shop there - Most, if not all, are subleased to the various tenents (who apparently pay Rs.300/- a day -- which again to me is very conservative. I just checked with a shop in Geetha Colony (opp to the Complex - and they pay Rs.25,000/- pm for a 10 x 10 space). Third, none of them thought it prudent to have insurance of any sort. (Wonder what the insurance marketing guys are doing?). Fourth, what were garment, tailoring, books, pooja articles/fancy stores shops doing in a 'Fruit & Vegetable' Complex? Finally, fifth - the entry and exits are choc-a-bloc with waste and the entry to the complex is choked. Apparently a lot of boxes/packing material was stored above the shops. Adding chairs to the narrow corridor - at the entry/exit point is another brilliant idea to reduce walking space No Wonder, the BBMP has "no" funds for "us" people. This was a disaster waiting to happen. Have our people learnt? a walk in Jayanagar IV block complex area yesterday showed that we dont want to learn lessons. Garbage is thrown everywhere, Footpath vendors continue to do merry. Behind Janata Bazar - heaps of Garbage were rotting and fruit vendors were selling merrily - and many of us buying. Wonder when we will learn the lessons? The area is going to dogs and i guess this is just the start. There is no access to the Main Complex for any fire engine during the day. All the entrance points are used for parking. Pretty sure, the blame game will start ( has already started i guess) but be sure, the BBMP will get away scotfree.
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silkboard's picture

Was about to write one, here it is

I was at the 4th block complex yest afternoon to see the damage myself. Not a lot frankly. The folks there themselves said that about a third of the 'area' got caught in the fire.

As you say namma_nadu, its an eye opener. Fire safety precautions in old world structures are minimal. Even some of the new buildings are questionable. At a popular mall, I recently saw a "fire exit" door bearing a Godrej 9-lever lock! Talked to a few security men about it, they had no clue and merely redirected me to their bosses. Just yesterday, I saw the same - "emergency fire exit" doors at a very big and popular hospital with heavy locks on them. I will certainly question them about it a day or two. It might be that the locks are supposed to be there on those "exits", and the glass box right next to these emergency exit doors could be containing the key. I didn't find any documentation indicating as such though.

Next, namma_nadu, a very good point about the "insurance" aspect. Yeddy has announced some "relief" in the form of payments (Rs 40000 per damaged shop I am told). Whats the rationale behind announcing payouts even before the incident is investigated? This would only discourage shops to not go for insurance, and the disregard for building safety norms will also get encouraged.

Don't get me wrong, I am sympathetic to those impacted. But I only wish the we take lessons from these incidents and send message to other such establishments so that lives can be saved in future.

blrsri's picture

Jayanagar Complex Gutted!

TOI - Blaze destroys Jayanagar edifice.

Edifice was the right word for it..that place had everything..butter to flowers to clothes..everything! Unfortunate that this place was gutted and the matter made worse by stalled firetenders..dont they maintain these things? arent they supposed to be ship shape all the time?

Many questions come up but facts remain that this place was not desinged to handle such disasters..and now its just charred remains! Fortunately no casualites were reported!

As an aftermath we hear that people are moving in and clearing the debris and trying to start all over again..they do not want the govt to do its part before they restart. But what they are doing is not a good thing at all.

The structure after the fire damage might not be stable enough for re-habitation

Has it been certified by the authorities that its safe enough?

Shouldnt the govt stop shop keepers getting into the place before they assess the damage?

narayan82's picture

J'Nagar Blaze

When I read the bit about "Exotic Birds burnt alive" it was a bit nostalgic, as a kid I used to entertain mself in the "pets" shop while my mom shopped for veggies!! Some kinda safety aspect must be on having such shops in crowded areas. I think the Garden opposite Vijaya Bakery saved the fire from spreading to the tower block? After the Upahaar Theatre Incident, all theatres in Bangalore woke up to fire safety, I hope this too triggers a similar response!
Narayan Gopalan
User Interaction Designer
s_yajaman's picture

Safety is not a priority culturally


Safety whether in driving, building, etc is not a priority for people. If you have not knocked down anyone while driving you have driven safely. Planning for safety, etc is out of the question.

Have you been to KSCA stadium. God forbid if there were to be a fire there. There was a fire recently in Guntur where almost Rs.50 crores worth of stock was lost. People in the BBMP etc probably just turn a blind eye - "ayyo bidi saar - isht varsha inda yenu aagilla".

In Singapore, all building have to conduct a fire drill every 3 months. Our company used to take part. It meant that some of us used to walk down 26 floors. Some buildings (near Raffles place) are 60 storeys high - but they still go through the pain. This is inspite of fire sprinklers being there on every floor, etc.

This would be considered a waste if time in India. And with the growing number of Indians in our office, we had learnt to beat the system. The day the fire drill would be announced, people would turn up to work after the drill or decide to work from home in the morning (drills were invariably done at 10:00 a.m.).


Drive safe.  It is not just the car maker which can recall its product.

City.Zen's picture

Thanks, Namma Nadu

Thanks, NN.

Your post with 5 points is indeed an eye-opener.

The question that begs for an answer is why does the govt. get into building such buildings? What public good does this serve? Public Utility Building which also had a fire some time back, the Madivala Shopping Complex which was vacant and in a bad condition for many years, the flats in the Games village that remained unsold for a long time, the Housing Board slum houses near E.G. Pura and other areas which recently collapsed and God knows how many more across the State. These are all examples indicting the state of governance.

The answers to all your questions, excepting the 3rd on insurance, can be forced from the govt., in addition to forcing the govt. to fix accountability for its acts of omission and commission. 

City Zen
bialterminal's picture

we continue our slumber..


You are bang on target by stating that safety is not a priority culturally. I would like to add that planning, being organized and enforcing laws are not a priority culturally for us. Moreover,  developing and implementing systems in place seems to be non existent. We thrive among chaos. In developed countries designing and building structures with safety inbuilt is like brushing teeth (i.e a matter of habit). Have safety factors been taken into account while building sprawling high rise apartment complexes? ..I won't be surprised if it hasn't and I am scared to think of what might happen!! People need to be educated and be made aware of these things. Having seen some structures I am numbed and begin to wonder if there is anything called "building code". In a nutshell many problems that we see boils down to 2 things "law enforcement" & "accountability".

The overall state of disrepair is shown by this -

"Help came a bit late for these people. Though the fire force was informed immediately, fire engines at Dairy Circle developed starting problem, delaying the process by over half an hour."

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