Casting doubts on the arrangements at Numaish, Hyderabad’s annual industrial exhibition, the Telangana High Court on Monday said permission to conduct the fair will not be given unless all departments concerned present safety arrangement and inspection reports. The exhibition had witnessed a massive fire last year, which gutted around 200 stalls set up at the venue. No deaths were reported.
Hearing a petition filed by Khaja Aijazuddin, the HC directed Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar to submit all safety reports from government departments concerned. The bench comprising Chief Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice A Abhishek Reddy asked the police to disclose all the safety measures that have been put in place before the inauguration of the exhibition on January 1 and to also submit an undertaking, signed by the exhibition organisers, complying with all required safety measures.
The bench also asked the Commissioner if all encroachments around the exhibition ground have been cleared in order to ensure there is no crowding and smooth parking on the premises. It instructed the Commissioner to clearly explain if encroachments have already been removed to help people evacuate in case of an emergency.
The Special Government Pleader (SGP), in turn, told the HC that it would be a mammoth task to remove all illegal encroachments in the area as these have been in place for the past 40 years. The HC in response said that the exhibition society should then consider postponing the exhibition.
“Kolkata and Delhi witnessed major fire accidents resulting in loss of several lives. Do you want us to witness similar incidents here? Who will be held responsible for such accidents,” the bench said.
The bench also asked the SGP how the parking space of buildings nearby can be used as parking for the exhibition venue without taking consent from the respective owners. Refusing to get carried away by the assurances made by the police, the HC told the police commissioner has made tall claims in his affidavits but has failed to furnish any evidence.
The case has been posted to Tuesday for next hearing.