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Only 27% of errant high-rises heed notice sent by fire dept

Of the 803 high-rise buildings in the city served notices over the past year for not meeting fire safety requirements, only 215 have acted on the notice and abided by the norms — a compliance rate of less than 27 per cent.


Safety first: BMC’s fire department had sent a notice to Cuffe Parade’s Jolly Maker-1 for violation of fire safety rules. The fire broke out on the 19th floor of the building on December 2. File pic

The notices were issued after the fire department inspected 1,852 buildings, including 1,096 high rises, 32 government offices, 558 nursing homes and 52 hospitals.

Overall, 871 buildings were served notices for violating norms, with high rises making up 92 per cent of this figure.

A building is classified a high-rise if its height is 24 metres — generally eight storeys — or more.

All high rises need to compulsorily carry out fire audits. According to the Section 3 of the Maharashtra Fire Protection Act, it is compulsory for the committee of a building to have an inspection done by its Licence Agency and violation of the law can make the committee members liable for a fine and even imprisonment.

About 70 fire officers have been appointed to check one building every week, and they inspect the internal resources for fire-fighting that a building possesses. The exercise helps the fire department expedite the process of conducting a proper audit for a large number of buildings. There are over 5,000 high rises in the city. More than 3 lakh buildings in the city come under the purview of the Maharshtra Fire Protection Act.

“More than 800 notices have been sent to several buildings in the city, but very few have shown compliance in this matter,” Deputy Fire Officer S H Nesarikar said. “It is compulsory for everyone to get their audits done and if that is ignored, they can be penalised in accordance with the provisions of the Maharashtra Fire Protection Act. Most of the notices have been served to high-rise buildings, as their internal resources and equipment were not in working condition.”

A notice is usually sent to a building by the fire department of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation if fire safety norms are violated or fire-fighting equipment is not in working order.

“After a notice was sent to the well-known Jolly Maker 1 in Cuffe Parade, many high-rise buildings have started looking at the issue seriously,” a fire officer said. 

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