BBMP scurries to check highrises

BBMP scurries to check highrises

BBMP scurries to check highrises

 Apparently in a panic mode after High Court’s strict orders to ensure safety in highrise buildings in the City, six teams from Palike spent the last 48 hours re-inspecting 56 highrises to check whether they adhered to fire safety rules and regulations.

During their whirlwind re-inspection trip, the Palike personnel momentarily forgot they could be violating the Karnataka Municipal Corporation Act which does not support re-inspection of sites for which Occupancy Certificates have already been issued.

However, the re-inspection was apparently carried in view of the HC’s strictures against the Palike on June 5 for  not furnishing a convincing response about steps taken to ensure a better fire safety mechanism in multi-storey buildings. Following this, the Palike has been carrying out a joint inspection along with the Fire and Emergency Services. It has to submit a fresh affidavit in the court with a concrete action plan for preventing a recurrence of the fire tragedies like the one witnessed at Carlton Towers last year in which at least nine people lost their lives after the seven-storey building was gutted.
BBMP sources told Deccan Herald that six teams comprising six Chief Engineers of BBMP zones, six Town Planners and six Fire and Emergency Department personnel had re-inspected the highrise buildings.

“We have been carrying out the exercise over the last 48 hours and are trying to complete atleast 100 highrise buildings to prepare an action plan to ensure better fire safety. While this might be in violation of the KMC Act, which provides no room for us to carry out re-inspection after having given the Occupancy Certificates (OC), we are forced to do it on the grounds of High Court orders,” said the source.

Confirming the re-inspection exercise, Fire and Emergency Department personnel said the exercise is all but over. “We were asked by the BBMP Commissioner to cover as many highrise buildings as possible in three days and prepare a report on the basis of our observations. The teams will be providing the inputs in the next couple of days,” said a Fire Department official.

Fire Department sources said of the 56 highrises inspected so far incuded the UB City mall, the ITC Gardenia and also the Royal Meenakshi Mall on Bannerghatta road. “In at least 15 percent of the cases, we found that no No-Objection Certificates (NOC) had been obtained from us before the buildings were given the OC from the civic agencies,” said the official.

In the case of UB City mall, the Fire department officials stated that the mandatory requirement of 40 per cent of their staff being conversant with  fire safety measures was found wanting.

“In several other cases, there were building violations, which could lead to a potential fire disaster,” according to the official.

Illegal buildings

According to the Fire Department, of the 18,000 to 20,000 highrise buildings in the City, including residential and commercial spaces, at least 18 to 20 per cent were illegal and had persistent violations of fire and emergency rules.

“Most of these violations could be found in the newly added CMC and TMC areas which have indiscriminately given the  occupancy certificates without any No Obejection Certificate (NOC) from our departments,” said the official.

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