Violation can cost lives

Violation can cost lives

Fatal fall

Violation can cost lives

Grim Reminder:  An outside view of the Imperial Court Apartments.

The concept of nuclear families has forced couples to move into apartments. It has its good and bad sides. While security is assured, children often complain of space constraints.

They have no place to play and most kids end up playing in balconies and terraces of most of these high-rise apartments. The tragic death of 12-year-old Allen John Venzon Barraza from the terrace of Imperial Court apartment on Cunningham Road, has brought into light the lack of safety measures in apartments in the City.

 Metrolife asks residents how safe their apartments are and what measures have they taken to ensure their own safety? Raksha, a marketing executive, says a lot has to be taken into consideration before shifting into an apartment.

“Before shifting, one must ensure that the locality and the place are safe. Because the landlord is not going to tell you about the neighbourhood crime rate or the leakages in the place. Talking to the neighbours helps a lot and taking a look at the entire apartment, from basement to terrace, is also necessary,” she adds.

The apartment associations are responsible for ensuring safety measures like fire drills, leakages and cleanliness of the surroundings.

Says Chandru, a resident of National Games Village, “There are many blocks inside the village and each one is managed by its own association, which ensures that the residents are aware of the fire exits and what is to be done in case of emergencies.”

Personal safety and the safety of children are the primary responsibilities of residents themselves.  Neha, a professional, who stays in an apartment in Indiranagar, says, “The apartment association can only ensure safety to an extent. The residents are responsible for themselves and their children.

From making sure that the windows and doors are locked when no one is at home to keeping an eye on children when they go out, everything has to be taken care of by the adults,” she adds.

The BBMP also emphasises that people residing in high-rise buildings in the City must follow certain guidelines before occupancy.

Says Thirukana Gowdar, additional director, Town Planning, “No matter how high the building is, when there is a terrace, we recommend the doors be closed at all times and to use the terrace only for solar heaters and other such things.

But if there are some rooftop facilities on terrace, which people frequently visit then there should be a 1.5 metre high parapet wall topped with iron bar railings. While we also recommend safety nets, it is not compulsory.”

The BBMP gives a ‘No Objection Certificate’ only after inspecting the building to see that the guidelines have been met with. Despite this, such incidents occur.

“Once the NOC is issued, there rarely is any inspection after that. Many apartments take advantage of this and go for extra construction,” Gowdar adds.

So is there any penalty for such violations? “The only solution is demolition of the entire place,” he signs off.

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