Kolkata, October 13, 2004, Press Release

Come Puja, and there will be lot of joyrides operating in the city violating all safety norms, warns Somi Home Roy, researcher, CUTS Safety Watch group, a premier consumer rights organisation working on consumer safety issues.

“One can hardly assess the hidden dangers of many rides that operate during different festivals, which seldom follow any safety standards. The rides might assure children a lot of fun but the parents do not know that these rides might cost their children a lifetime of trauma and pain” stated Roy. While children are the main victims of faulty rides, adults are no exception.

The business of amusement and fun is getting bigger in India. An estimated 600 million Indians venture out to various fairs and exhibitions year after year. But while everyone is keen on making profits, hardly anybody gives adequate attention to safety measures.

“It is a very common phenomenon, that after every accident, the licencing authority suggests the examination of the rides to see whether they have been maintained properly as required under the licence agreement. But no body answers the question as to why the authorities have to always wait for an accident to happen and then take action, especially when such accidents are so serious. Every year, several such accidents take place, many of which go unreported”, stated Roy.

Roy pointed out that the main cause of deaths and injuries on amusement rides is preventable. This would include things like lack of routine maintenance and disregard for safety rules by the operators. Each of these rides require rigorous quality control, be it in the manufacture of the parts, assembly at the fair site or its subsequent maintenance. The wear and tear caused by the speed, vibrations, weather and everything has to be carefully studied to ensure the safety of these rides. If these are not done properly, another shocking accident may be just round the corner.

Roy demanded that certificates for rides at fairs and carnivals should be revalidated each time a ride is moved to a new location.

She also pointed out the need of a competent licencing authority. Roy demanded that there should be random follow-up inspection during puja and other festivals and fairs to ensure compliance with the norms and regulations and licences should be revoked in case of failure.

Roy informed that very recently the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has come up with “Code of Recommended Practice” for “Amusement Ride Safety” (IS 15475) and “Safety in Water Parks” (IS 15492). The statutory authority will give licences to the ride operators on the basis of compliance with these BIS recommendations. Roy suggested that the statutory authority while granting licence to the safe rides can put a logo on them, which will signify that the rides are safe. This will help people to identify a safe ride for their children and themselves and many accident could be avoided in future.