KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has ordered the managements of all hotels, factories and departments to comply with precautionary safety measures; otherwise strict action would be taken against them.

He was presiding over an emergency meeting held to review the incident of fire at a local hotel which claimed 11 lives and injured over 60 others.

The chief minister was informed that fire had broken out in the kitchen of the hotel at around 2.45am. “A fire brigade unit reached there well in time and extinguished the fire,” he was informed.

The CM was told that the smoke was so thick and high that it penetrated into each and every room through ducks of the centrally air-conditioned system.

“As a result, some people succumbed to the suffocation and some jumped from their rooms and could not survive,” he was told.

Murad was also informed the last inspection of fire extinguishers at the hotel had been done in the end of 2015. To this, he asked the official why it was not done when after every three months it became mandatory.

To this, the official disclosed that the hotel management did not cooperate.

Expressing displeasure, the CM ordered the home secretary to conduct a thorough inquiry to ascertain as to why the civil defence department had failed to inspect the working of fire extinguishers.

He also directed Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon to constitute a committee comprising assistant commissioners, fire-fighters of KMC, an electrical inspector and other such relevant officers and start inspection of each and every hotel, factory and such other buildings to know that whether their managements had taken precautionary measures for emergency or not.

“If the report is in negative; necessary installations of emergency gates, fire extinguishers be made on a war footing,” he directed. “Inspection means inspection; not harassment,” the CM said, and added, “Report to me within next 48 hours.”

Murad also directed Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro to expedite the purchase of snorkels and also purchase shooters used for sliding down the people stuck up in the upper stories of a building when such incidents take place. Shoro recommended to the chief minister to get inspection of each and every hotel and factory done through a third party so that ISO certification of safety measures could be ensured.

Approving the proposal, the chief minister directed the chief secretary to make necessary amendments in the law, if necessary.

It was also proposed that managements of hotels and factories are made bound to get inspection of their safety measures done on their own expenses as is done by CNG stations.

The chief minster directed the chief secretary to examine the proposal and give him recommendations.

Murad expressing displeasure over the performance of civil defence department directed the chief secretary to authorise all the assistant commissioners to head the civil defence committees in their areas. “There should be trainings of the civil defence employees,” he urged.

The chief minister directed the Karachi commissioner to arrange transportation of bodies of those perished in the fire incident to their native areas.

Earlier, just after coming back from Lahore, the chief minister went directly to the Agha Khan Hospital where he inquired after those injured in the incident. The meeting was attended by Minister for Local Government Jam Khan Shoro, Chief Secretary Rizwan Memon, Sindh IG AD Khawaja, Home Secretary Shakeel Mangnijo, Karachi Commissioner Aijaz Khan, Health Secretary Dr Usman Chachar and Chief Fire Officer Masood Alam.