Malls take note of frequent falls

Tragic Deaths

Malls take note of frequent falls

Shopping malls, which are supposed to be a hub for fun and family time, are unfolding horror stories. A 22-year old engineering student recently fell to his death from the third floor of the Great India Place (GIP) mall in Noida.

While his friends have claimed that he slipped, deceased Shashank Shekhar’s parents are stating that he was pushed over the glass balcony.

Notably, the Centre Stage Mall (CSM), just opposite GIP, has already witnessed six such incidents since its opening in 2003. On October 11 last year, a retired army officer, allegedly suffering from depression, had jumped from the fourth floor of CSM. Before that, in January 2011, a BBA student had died after falling under similar
circumstances.

With the number of floors at shopping malls rising steadily, it was but obvious that they would soon attract people with suicidal intents or those looking to commit a murder and label it ‘accidental’; but what are mall authorities doing to prevent such incidents? Metrolife spoke to the management at some shopping malls to find out.

Benu Sehgal, Vice President, Mall Management, DLF Place Saket informs, “It is very easy for even accidental falls to take place in a mall. On a daily basis, we get a footfall of at least three lakh which burgeons further on weekends. Many tend to lean on railings of higher floors to watch the activities underneath and if someone is drunk, it can pose a bigger problem. Heavy police security is provided for an event like Kumbh Mela, but trust us, we handle a Kumbh Mela every day.

“Nevertheless, I feel, malls can prevent such mishaps by, firstly, taking a few designing precautions. The balconies should be high with the glass barrier inward and the steel railing outward at some distance. This way, the weight of the body is put on the glass and not just the railing, preventing falls. Secondly, safety nets should be placed over various floors. As opposed to common thinking, nets do not look ugly and can be decorated to become a part of a mall’s aesthetics.”

Colonel Sandeep Datta, General Manager, Ambience Mall, Gurgaon, adds, “Knowing such mishaps are common, we have placed CCTV cameras and guards on every floor. They keep visitors away from balconies and take care of those coming out of pubs, drunk. Besides, we also have look-out-persons stationed on the top floor trained to spot those with suicidal tendencies. Generally, such people roam around for a while looking for a spot which has no visitors or guards to stop them.”

“We want our visitors to have a good time and not carry back horrific memories of someone jumping to death from our mall.”

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