Some progress made at Wankhede, say fire officials

Updated: Feb 22, 2011, 00:05 AM IST

Mumbai: Days after raising doubts about the safety arrangements at the revamped Wankhede stadium, venue of the World Cup final, the city`s fire department officials on Monday conducted another round of inspection at the stadium and said that some progress has been made.

"There are some irregularities but not major like putting up extinguishers, lugs and others. They are complying with the norms...the work is on," deputy chief fire officer A N Shinde, who inspected the stadium with his team, told reporters here.

The fire brigade had last week expressed displeasure at the non-compliance of fire safety norms at the recently revamped Wankhede stadium after inspection on Wednesday.

The department had also written a letter to MCA stating the irregularities at the stadium.

"We had sought reply from the MCA regarding compliance of fire safety norms in the stadium. The reply is expected within two or three days," chief fire officer Uday Tatkare said.

"There are irregularities at the stadium including sprinklers at the stands and ventilation problem in the basement. We have given them the lapses in writing," Tatkare said.

Meanwhile, the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has pulled up its socks and began work to comply with the requisite norms.

"The fire department has given us in writing the irregularities at the stadium. Work is in progress and once we are done, a team of fire officials would inspect the work after which we would get a compliance certificate," MCA joint secretary Lalchand Rajput said.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, MCA treasurer and World Cup tournament director Prof Ratnakar Shetty allayed fears about safety norms at the stadium, and said security would not be compromised while staging matches at the venue.

"When we build a stadium, we take care of each and every person who will come to the stadium. And there would be no compromises in anything required by the government or any agencies," Shetty had told reporters, who were taken around the renovated stadium.

"Every permission that is required will be obtained and without that you cannot have a stadium. But getting a permission is a procedure. It does not happen that you go to a counter and say now give me a NOC. There is a procedure which is followed and permissions are taken in a sequence.

"Rest assured, all permissions will be in hand, all things required from the fire department and the NOC (no objection certificate). What is required is the compliance at the new areas like the basement at the north stand."