After the fire in the Lal Kuan area of Old Delhi which claimed over 40 lives, the Delhi government is going to relocate inflammable chemical godowns of the capital to east Delhi ( Down To Earth , Vol 8, No 7). Since the surveys conducted earlier have become outdated, another detailed census of the chemical dealers will be carried out to identify the eligible for space in the new complex.

The decision was taken at a meeting of the lieutenant-governor, Vijai Kapoor, with chief minister Sheila Dixit and Delhi's urban development minister, A K Walia. According to sources, it will take at least a year before the decision is implemented. A committee headed by the divisional commissioner has been set-up to identify the chemical units that need to be relocated. "Delays do take place in government functioning, but the public too has to respond positively to change,' said Dixit. Agreeing that lapses on the part of the government have occurred, Dixit said that people who were running godowns without proper licences were also responsible for the prevailing situation. "People's awareness and government vigilance should go together,' she said.

The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) which is responsible for constructing the freight complex in Gazipur area of east Delhi, where the chemical factories have to be shifted, has assured the government that it will be possible to develop the new complex, to make physical shifting of the units possible in a year's time. "The DDA had earlier listed 300 godowns, but this will have to be updated,' said Delhi chief secretary O Sehgal. The government is also considering bringing in a legislation for regulating storage and movement of inflammable material. "At the moment, there is no comprehensive law to deal with mushrooming of these godowns,' said Saigal. "He added that the legislation will aim at bringing all the related provisions under one head.

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