A disaster management plan will soon become necessary for new buildings to get clearance. Existing ones without such a plan will face action.
The Maharashtra government’s move follows a spate of serious accidents, including last week’s fire at Kalbadevi and the Andheri fire in 2014.
The State Expert Appraisal Committee II (SEAC-II), formed recently with retired IAS officer Johny Joseph as its chairman, will formulate these norms (see box).
“A disaster management plan is a component of the wider role of the SEAC committee. It will include conditions that need to be followed by every building in the city to tackle calamities such as fire, cyclone, tsunami or earthquake. The plan is in the preliminary stage, but we expect to put forth the conditions in a month,” Joseph said.
The plan will make it necessary for alternate shelters to be made available in every society in case of an evacuation. Buildings will also have to display the evacuation plan and an internal map on every floor, security guards should be trained to handle emergencies and adequate space should be made for emergency vehicles and rescue operation teams to enter and exit.
“We want to make sure all buildings in the city are prepared to tackle and avoid any disaster. With rampant construction, and accidents rising, there is a need to come up with such a plan,” Joseph said.
Buildings in Mumbai and the metropolitan region will be covered under the plan. But concrete decisions are yet to be taken, Joseph said. “This is a rough outline to ensure disaster preparedness in the city.”
The plan is likely to be formulated in a month, then it will be sent to the state government for approval. Once approved, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will implement it. Municipal commissioner Ajoy Mehta was unavailable for comment.