Clay factory functioning without fire safety certificate, says RTI reply

Representational image: Manorama

Thiruvananthapuram: The response given to an application under the Right To Information Act (RTI) has said that the English Indian Clays Limited factory, located in Mele Thonnakkal village, Thiruvananthapuram district, employing 300 individuals, lacks a Non-Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Fire and Rescue Services Department.

It raises questions about how the company managed to obtain a panchayat licence and permission from the Factories and Boilers department without presenting the NOC from the Fire and Rescue Services department. The mystery deepens regarding the acquisition of the ISO certificate by the factory without possessing the required NOC.

The District Fire Officer, responding to an RTI petition inquiring about the factory building's safety measures, confirmed that the factory has not been granted an NOC. The petition sought information on whether the factory, standing over 18 metres tall, has the necessary safety equipment and holds a fire and safety licence. The reply was received from the District Fire Officer on November 28.

The factory has been functioning in Mele Thonnakkal village for the past 20 years. In an earlier instance, when a copy of the latest fire and safety licence granted to the Thonnakkal unit was sought from the District Fire Office, it replied that the NOC had not been granted to the factory. The RTI petition was filed by Sarath Mohan of Thiruvananthapuram. The unit at Veli has remained locked for the past four years.

Will respond later, says company
The company has promised to respond later, stating, "We will address the NOC question after thoroughly examining the issue. Discussions are underway to revive the Veli unit after securing the necessary raw materials."

Action after investigation: Collector
Reacting to the issue, the District Collector said, "The allegation that the factory is operating without an NOC from the Fire and Rescue Services department will be investigated. Action will be taken if there is any lapse."

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