New fire norms irk Ganpati mandals in Mumbai
According to instructions from the dire brigade, organisers asked to give undertaking that they will follow 23-point drillUpdated: Aug 09, 2018 00:31 IST
With the fire brigade asking Ganpati mandals to sign an undertaking that they will follow the 23-point safety drill laid down by the department, organisers are worried that committing on a stamp paper would make them criminally responsible in case there is any untoward incident.
“All these years, Ganpati mandals have been getting No objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire brigade after they inspect the pandal location. All of a sudden, a 23-point guideline has been issued and we are being asked to simply sign an undertaking,” said Naresh Dahibavkar, president, Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganeshostsav Samanvay Samiti (BSGSS), the umbrella body of Ganesh mandals across the city. “Signing an undertaking comes with a responsibility, which is why the organisers are worried.”
Officials from the fire brigade were unavailable for a comment. The fire department guidelines state the mandals need to submit a ‘self-certified declaration on a ₹500 stamp paper about compliance of fire safety measures to the ward authority, and it would be the sole responsibility of organisers to comply with all fire safety measures under Section 3 (3) of Maharashtra Fire Prevention and life safety measures act – 2006’.
Other guidelines mandate the pandals to be at least 10 feet away from a building; pandals cannot be erected near a railway line, chimney or furnace unless a distance of 15 metres is maintained; and internal roads shall be kept free from any obstruction; among others.
“The instructions such as having sand and water inside the pandal is understood, and we have been following all these guidelines, but all of a sudden if parking issues are raised, it would be a problem for the residents,” Dahibavkar said. Organisers said their concerns, such as potholes and street lights, are not addressed by the civic body, but these guidelines have been “simply imposed on them”.
“For the past five years, we have been following all instructions laid down by the fire brigade. In fact, they take measurements and make maps explaining all the provisions, so why all these changes suddenly,” said Pradeep Pandey, member, Parshiwadi Sarvajanik Ganeshostav, Ghatkopar. Changes in the fire guidelines for Ganpati mandals have been made after the Kamala Mills fire mishap on December 29 last year claimed 14 lives and left 29 others injured.