No plan OK for Vikasa Soudha, govt buildings

A view of the Vikasa Soudha. DH file photo

Insure yourself if you are visiting the Vikasa Soudha or Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s offices for, neither of these buildings has a building plan approval and occupancy certificate (OC) which the BBMP insists on for all structures.

This revelation comes after a tip-off by an official in BBMP that its Annexe-3 building does not have a fire safety certificate and its repeated tenders floated for construction of an additional staircase for a fire escape has gone nowhere.

K T Nagaraj, Chief Engineer, Project Central who built Annexe-3, told  DH, “Yes, the plan approval and OC were not obtained during the construction of the Annexe-3 building. For that matter, even the BBMP council building and all ward offices and zonal offices do not have these documents.”

Nagaraj made even more startling revelations: “Not just that, even Vikasa Soudha, MS Building, state and Central government offices don’t have these documents and have not applied to BBMP for this. When there is no plan approval and OC, there is no question of getting fire safety certificates. It is not that we are exempted, but we somehow have to get these certifications since building construction in BBMP limits comes under the bylaw of the KMC Act.”

An official who did not wish to be identified said, “There may exemptions but have they taken third-party inspection for the construction? Annexe-3 building has no fire safety certificates and neither does any BBMP building. They had floated tenders for the construction of an additional staircase in Annexe-3. Since the building has six floors, it should have had two staircases but it has only one. But the tender has never been successful and no staircase construction took place. Just because someone works in the RTO or police department, it does not mean they have no obligation to have a driving licence. None of the BBMP buildings has fire safety certificates,” he said.

C M Manjunath, an RTI activist said, “Even today, there are no fire safety certificates for any BBMP building. There might be some exemptions but the definition of a building is the same for all. Most of the buildings have insufficient space to allow fire tenders to enter,” he said.

Opposition leader in the BBMP Padmanabha Reddy, said, “There are exemptions for government institutions but they have to follow rules. But unfortunately, the BBMP which has to ensure these things, itself has violated rules when it comes to the construction of its own building,” he said.

Suresh Hari, chairman, CREDAI said, “There may be a few old buildings in BBMP. But they have to fulfil the requirements. Rules are the same for everyone and they have to ensure the fire safety measures,” he said.

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