The Mumbai fire brigade department is rejecting proposals from educational institutes, which want to construct buildings higher than 30 metres (eight floors).
The move follows the recent guidelines issued by the urban development department (UDD).
According to fire department officials, who scrutinise proposals before giving no-objection certificates (NOC) to projects, at least 15 proposals from schools to go higher have been rejected. “The circular issued by UDD has asked us to restrict the height of educational institutes to 30 metres. This mandate is also included in the National Building Code, which was earlier treated as guidelines, but now we will have to compulsorily abide by it,” said a senior official from the fire brigade department.
Earlier, UDD allowed FSI of four to educational institutes. But, it has reviewed the decision in view of students’ safety. The Maharashtra Safety and Fire Prevention Act also makes it compulsory to abide by the height restriction for educational institutes. According to senior fire officials, the height restriction has been put because schoolchildren don’t react to an emergency situation like a fire or mishap in a methodical manner.
The recent circular issued by the UDD mentions that schools should not store hazardous and inflammable substances on the school premises, and if needed to be stored then the necessary fire safety precautions must be taken.
“In the last two months, we have turned down applications of educational institutions wanting to construct buildings as high as 50 metres. We have asked them to revise the proposal,” said the official.
Uday Tatkare, chief fire officer, said the department would issue these guidelines, which have been directed by the Supreme Court after 80 children were killed in a fire in a school in Tamil Nadu.
However, Tatkare added that there could be some exceptions. “If land is not available schools will have to get clearance from the UDD to go higher.”