Unplanned construction, large-scale encroachments, crowded and blocked stairways — country’s parliament building is not emergency-ready. A fire or an earthquake could well turn out be a rescue team's nightmare.
Arguably one of the most magnificent structures in the Capital, the 85-year-old main parliament building, which houses the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and Central Hall, has been refused fire-safety clearance by the Delhi Fire Services.An internal report on the circular sand-stone edifice, where 790 MPs, including country's top leadership, are present when the Parliament is in session, has pointed out a number of safety hazards.
Speaker Meira Kumar sought a report on the building after the June 21 Mantralaya fire in Maharashtra that gutted three floors, including CM's office, and left five people dead.
Based on inputs from the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), responsible for the maintenance of the building designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker, the report says the situation could turn “alarming if immediate steps are not taken to decongest and de-stress” the building.
"Encroachments in various parts pose a serious danger in case of any fire incident because staircases on different floors are blocked either by structures or by keeping furniture and other articles there," it has warned.
The CPWD wants main canteen on the first floor shifted out. An inspecting team found 31 LPG cylinders in the storerooms -- a fire hazard.
Air-conditioning systems and security equipment, not part of the original plan drawn in 1920, has added considerable load and seepage from air-handling units is a health hazard, it says.
Following the speaker's directive, a six-member team, led by the Lok Sabha secretary-general TK Viswanathan, has recommended several steps to make the building safe.
Removing encroachments from the third floor and bulky cables from the basement are some of the suggestions.