In a bid to avert fire accidents, the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) is paying a larger focus on adherence to fire safety norms. As a part of it, the GVMC has so far identified 300 buildings in the city that violated safety norms. Violations range from an absence of emergency fire exits, down corner systems, staircases, and ramps as mandated by Fire Service Act-1999. Most of these were identified during surprise fire-safety audits.
Most of these buildings situated in commercial areas do not have fire-fighting systems, automatic fire detectors, and sprinklers which will mitigate damage during fire accidents. According to fire safety experts, an electric short circuit was the cause for over 75 % of fire accidents. “By adding more and more electrical appliances to the same old wires, sparks emerge due to overload. The private firms earn in crores, but show hesitation in spending a little more on replacing conventional junction boxes with ‘flame-retardant’ ones to localize the spark, as per norms,” said a senior official of the fire department told to Hello Vizag.
Municipal Commissioner G. Srijana said we appealed several times to all educational institutions, business establishments, storage buildings and hazardous premises must install fire safety equipment. Even after serving notices to the violators of fire safety norms as mandated by the building codes and other laws, the shenanigans of these people still continue unabated. With this, the GVMC is now going to prosecute 30 building owners within corporation jurisdiction for failing to meet required standards and thereby violating the Fire Service Act-1999. After serving a show-cause notice twice that lasted for 60 days, the municipal corporation will take further action against the violators by filing a case against them in the court.
Speaking to Hello Vizag, GVMC Regional Fire Officer D Niranjan Reddy said “based on the violation, form-9, 10, 12 and 14 show-cause notices have been issued to the violators according to the Act. We have directed the building owners to rectify the lapses and meet the safety norms within a period of 30 days. Despite issuing the final notice, 30 people fail to respond. Now, cases will be filed against them and action will be taken accordingly,”
Those who need to obtain a no-objection certificate (NOC), the GVMC officials say, have been alerted. Suggestions were also given to ready required documents and renovations to be made in the premises. Non-compliance to safety norms leads to grave mishaps. In such a scenario, the municipal corporation officials say that controlling fire during any untoward incident turns out to be a daunting task. In most buildings, the officials concerned say that there was no proper fire-fighting equipment to bring the situation under control in case of any contingency. “In such cases, there will be a significant loss of not just property but also life,” adds Niranjan Reddy.
In 2020, 20 provisional fire NOCs, 167 occupancy fire NOCs, and 242 renewal fire NOCs were issued which led to a collection of Rs 1.38 crore fee. The GVMC has a fire prevention wing and any clarification can be sought from Regional Officer Niranjan Reddy by dialing 9177504442.
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