Responding to a question about the Fire Force’s rejection and tough stand on rejecting safety permits for buildings higher than three floors, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said that Kerala has to decide if it want to grow high like the rest of the World or down?
He added safety is paramount and there is no question about compromising on it.
Does these statements when read in entirety make sense? Is it impossible to have both safety, security and development at the same time? Is safety a luxury we have to compromise for development?
Former head of Fire Safety, Jacob Thomas, was booted out because he took a tough stand against granting permits to building without adequate fire safety measures. Measures as basic as space for fire engines to park in event of a fire.
Justifying the decision to shift IPS officer Jacob Thomas from the Fire and Rescue Services, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has accused Mr. Thomas of denying various distress relief services to the public and thereby causing much embarrassment to the government. He also flayed the action of Mr Thomas against high-rise buildings.
“I fully own up the responsibility for shifting Thomas. Neither Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala nor Urban Affairs Minister Manjalamkuzhi Ali need to be blamed. Many decisions of Thomas caused much embarrassment to the government. Officers who work against the expectations of common people in distress could not continue in fire and rescue services,” Mr. Chandy said.
If Oommen Chandy is serious about development (which he seems to think is about building tall residential buildings) and fire safety, what he needs to increase his budget for fire fighting and buy enough ladders that can go beyond the third floor.
Making citizens choose between safety and development is idiotic and pathetic.