Three months after audit, Mohali MC unable to take call on defaulters of fire safety norms
Old constructions and revision of National Building Code of India among the reasons behind failure to take action against 500 establishments in Mohali, Kharar and KuraliUpdated: Sep 30, 2019 00:36 IST
Three months after finding fire safety violations in most of the commercial establishments in Mohali during the first ever fire safety audit, municipal corporation (MC) of the district is unable to take any action, citing the age of the buildings and revision of the National Building Code (NBC) of India in 2016.
In June, the fire department had submitted a report to the concerned authorities and issued around 200 notices to commercial establishments falling under its jurisdiction, asking them to comply with the safety norms within a week. The department had also warned the establishment owners of snapping their water and sewerage connections in case of failure to comply with the fire norms.
The audit began in the last week of May after a coaching centre was gutted in fire in Surat (Gujarat), claiming lives of 20 students.
RESPONSE SOUGHT FROM LOCAL BODIES DEPT
Mohali assistant divisional fire officer Krishan Lal Kakkar said, “We have written to the local bodies department asking them to write to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) for relaxation of by-laws but we have not received any information yet.”
Another senior officer of the fire department said, “No action can be taken as the buildings are very old and NBC was revised in 2016. It has become difficult for the establishments to have staircase at the rear of the showrooms. We cannot give no-objection certificates (NOCs) until the by-laws are relaxed. At present, there is no way out to tackle the issue.”
Maninderjit Singh Sidhu who owns showrooms in Phase 3B2 says, “Even the fire department is not clear about the norms. As per NBC’s paragraph 4, there is instruction for fire safety norms to comply with but even the officials are not aware what exactly is to be done.” He further said that the fire department is insisting on separate stairs for exit at the back of buildings but the same is not allowed as per by-laws of the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA). “All the departments should coordinate and set the rules accordingly. Building owners are of the thought that spiral iron stairs should be allowed by GMADA at the rear of buildings,” he said.
WHAT THE REPORT SAID
The report submitted by the fire department of Mohali to deputy commissioner (DC) had found 500 commercial establishments in Mohali, Kharar and Kurali not complying with the fire safety norms. The establishments included industrial units, coaching centres, hotels and other showrooms located in Industrial Area, Phase 8, Mohali, Kurali and Kharar. In Mohali, the defaulters are mostly coaching centres located in the markets of Phases 1, 2, 3B1, 3B2, 7, 10 and 11, catering to around 8,000 students. The report found that none of the multi-storeyed commercial buildings had a complete firefighting system.
First Published: Sep 30, 2019 00:36 IST