Fire clearance for Metro given grudgingly, fears HC | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Fire clearance for Metro given grudgingly, fears HC

Expressing concern over the safety of the Versova-Ghatkopar Metro rail line, the Bombay high court has directed the Chief Fire Officer to furnish details of fire safety measures taken for the project.

mumbai Updated: Feb 16, 2012 01:21 IST
HT Correspondent

Expressing concern over the safety of the Versova-Ghatkopar Metro rail line, the Bombay high court has directed the Chief Fire Officer to furnish details of fire safety measures taken for the project.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Andheri resident Dr Monica Matani on Wednesday, which alleges that the fire department ignored safety norms while granting no-objection certification (NOC) for the 12 stations on the Metro rail corridor.

"Prima facie, it appears [that] the NOC has been granted grudgingly," the division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Ranjit More commented. Motani's counsel, F Devitre, argued that the Chief Fire Officer overlooked safety norms laid down in the Development Control Regulations as well as those in the National Building Code, which stipulate a minimum distance of six meters from existing structure. The proposed Metro station at Ghatkopar is barely one-and-half meter away from a building, Devitre said. At Andheri West too, a station is set to come up within three meters of an existing building.

Expressing fear that the Metro was a major disaster in waiting, he pointed out that Mumbai Metro One, the consortium in charge of the project, had left barely 2.5 feet distance between two tracks for evacuating passengers in case of an emergency.

Devitre pointed out that the Chief Fire Officer himself had stated in the NOC that any emergency between stations could lead to chaos, and disciplined evacuation may be difficult. In such a scenario, an aerial evacuation would be the only solution, the NOC stated.

JJ Bhat, representing, Mumbai Metro One, however, refuted the charges. "Each of the objections have been taken care of," Bhat said. "Plans for each of the 12 stations were submitted for fire department's approval and NOC was granted after elaborate representation on every aspect."

The court has directed the MMRDA and Mumbai Metro One to file their replies. The court has asked the Chief Fire Officer to file a reply focusing on the objections raised in the PIL.