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The Mumbai fire department has asked the Wankhede Stadium to undertake measures to improve its fire safety mechanism as it is currently not in compliance with fire safety norms. The stadium, which will host the World Cup final, was inspected by two fire officials on Wednesday.
"The [inspection] team has found that the newly renovated stadium has many loopholes in its fire safety mechanism," chief fire officer Uday Tatkare told PTI. "We will write a letter to the Mumbai Cricket Association stating there is a need to comply with fire safety norms. Once they abide by the terms we will conduct another inspection."
MCA joint secretary Lalchand Rajput, however, said there were only a few minor changes required. "We have already received the NOC and what is left now is the compliance certificate," Rajput told ESPNcricinfo. "We were visited by the department day before yesterday [Wednesday] and they pointed out a few minimum requirements that we will have no problems complying with. It is not as if this is a new ground that has never passed fire safety requirements before. We have just redeveloped the stadium and this is minor stuff."
There have been previous worries about the progress of renovations at the Wankhede, which began soon after the conclusion of the 2008 IPL season. Back in 2010, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed stating the work at Wankhede was in violation of several environmental and safety norms. One of the main concerns was the lack of access of the fire brigade to all parts of the venue, as required under the National Building Code of India.
The stadium was then supposed to be ready by November to host a Test match between India and New Zealand, but was dropped as a venue for that series. In December last year, the ICC inspection team slammed the stadium, saying it was not possible to confirm that it would be in a suitable condition to be handed over by January 31.
The Wankhede managed to recover from that setback and was given the go-ahead by the ICC on January 27, even as Eden Gardens lost the India-England fixture. The Wankhede will host two World Cup group matches featuring New Zealand, Canada and Sri Lanka, apart from the final.