City skyline endangering the public

High rise fiasco: Doubts cast over safety aspects

City skyline endangering the public

With the Fire and Emergency Department in a fix over the powers not empowering them to take penal action and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) only authorised to place penalty on the owners of these high -rise structure, the City skyline seems to be endangering the general public.

And even more so, if the zonal regulation of 2007 by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) is taken into consideration. The BDA has included in the Zonal regulation Act that high-rise structures will henceforth be considered only for buildings 24 meters or higher.

However, the Fire and Emergency Department and the BBMP have both vehemently opposed this move stating that it conflicts directly with the National Building Code (NBC) of 2005.

The NBC act regulates the construction of multi-floored buildings, commercial and residential, by stating that 15 meters and above have to be considered as high-rise buildings. In its provisions to tackle emergency situations in the high-rise buildings, the Fire and Emergency Department have stated: “The change of height is effected without consulting the department. This is not accepted by the Department and the BBMP.”

The Department had further pursued the matter with the BDA and the Urban Development Authority but no response was received by them. The Fire department in its provisions has noted that while the draft version of the Zonal Regulations of 2007 by the BDA contained that the high-rise buildings would be defined as those with 15 meters of height or above, it was changed to 24 meters in the final version of the regulation act.

BBMP officials state that the height of the building will directly bear on the safety aspects in the City. “If the height increases then the safety problems take a direct bearing,” informed a BBMP official.

On the other hand, the 24 meter and above height will also mean that builders have more room to extend the height of the buildings and place more onus on the already thinly-spread Fire Department personnel and equipment. A chance that neither the Palike or the Fire Department are willing to take. 

More skeletons tumble out of Gold Tower

Was NYX’s Elite Club illegal?

 Following the Gold Tower fire mishap, the Fire and Emergency Department has stated that the club was entirely an illegal construction. “Not only the club but the entire building does not have our clearance in this regard,” said Fire and Emergency Department, Director, B G Chengappa.

The Director stated that the pub constructed with make-shift plastic sheets and other inflammable materials had not been authorised.   On the other side, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has stated that the club was permitted to be run like a restaurant. “We had given the permission to the club to run the restaurant on the terrace of the Gold Tower,” informed the BBMP Health Officer (South) Dr Nagaraj.

According to him, the fire mishap has been confirmed as being due to the Puja (homa) being performed adjacent to the pub. “We have prepared the report and submitted it to Joint Commissioner,” he added.

On Monday evening, the a BBMP team visited the spot and inspected the club for further clues. Apart from their internal report, the BBMP is awaiting the report from the Fire and Emergency Department and the Police for further action. The police, in the meantime, have taken into custody the brother of Chetan Thayal, owner of the Gold Tower for further questioning. According to the police, there were nearly 30 rental offices in the building including the NYX’s Elite Club and over 500 people working in the towers.

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