Death toll rises to 20 from western India building fire

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In the wake of the Surat fire tragedy, Gujarat Chief Secretary Dr JN Singh on Sunday informed that show cause notices have been sent to coaching centres and other buildings in the state after a preliminary inspection.

Majority of the bodies were so disfigured that the families had to identify their loved ones based on watches and jewelry they had worn.

Harshal Vekaria and Jignesh Padgal, builders of the complex, have also been booked under section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and section 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) of the Indian Penal Code, Surat police said.

An NGO, working in the field of fire safety and prevention, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding a strong law to be enacted to prevent fire tragedies.

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Fire Service has chose to conduct an inspection of fire safety measures in coaching centres across the state in the wake of the recent fire mishap at Gujarat which claimed 22 lives. Rupani has also asked Puri to submit a report on Monday. He said that over 9,900 buildings housing tuition classes, malls and hospitals have already been reviewed and over 9,300 premises have been issued show-cause notices too.

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"An inquiry into the matter has reportedly been ordered by the state government". Soon smoke engulfed the classroom, and the students were suffocated and could hardly see each other, he said. "Students, aged around 20 years, were trapped in the coaching centre when the fire broke out in the stairway". It should be regarded as a case of callousness compounded when despite so many death-by-fire accidents around the country, municipal authorities allow such patently illegal and unsafe structures to flourish.

In Jaipur, parents are anxious on the mushrooming coaching centers with hardly any safety measures and a few years ago afire tragedy had occurred at a coaching center and strict measures were announced but hardly to any effect. Not bothered by overheating and increased chance of fire, these coaching classes have no emergency exit routes, safety equipments, alarms or training to handle the situation.

Although locals alleged that the fire tenders arrived late, the firefighters said they received the call at around 4:00 p.m. local time and contained the blaze in two hours.

Amid criticism from victims' relatives that fire officials took up to 45 minutes to arrive on the scene on Friday, deputy chief fire officer S.K. Acharya and fire officer Kirti Mod were suspended, chief fire officer for Surat, B.K. Pareek told Reuters. "It simply mentions that coaching classes need to comply with fire safety norms, with no specific details", Karnavat adds.

In several institutions in Chennai, classes are packed to double their capacity, but many parents are desperate to get their children admitted.