One hundred schools under the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) are functioning without no-objection certificates from the fire department, while many of them do not have space for entry of fire tenders, a report by the civic body has said.
Not a single school under the civic body has conducted a fire safety audit or procured annual maintenance contract (AMC), which is done for upkeep of fire safety systems, officials said in response to questions by AAP SDMC councillor B S Joon.
A senior official of the South body said, “We have 581 schools but not everyone has a standalone building. There are about 440 standalone buildings, so we can say that about 100 do not have fire NOC. But we are in the process of procuring the certificates. At some places, our school buildings have no issues but there is no space for fire tenders to enter because of encroachment on roads.”
“Some of the schools are under construction and we will ensure that all schools get fire NOCs soon,” the official said. According to the report, the civic body said no audit has been done in schools but the education department ensures that fire safety systems are in place in all schools under the SDMC.
About 2.5 lakh students study in 581 schools under SDMC, most of them from low-income neighbourhoods that cannot afford private education. Joon said, “The life of students are at risk, especially because the South corporation has not taken annual maintenance contract, which is necessary to keep fire safety equipment in place. South corporation is not like North and East civic bodies which have a budget deficit. They have crores to spend, but still are this negligent.”
“In Neb Sarai, a school came up at a place where a high-tension power line was already running overhead for more than 10 years. But still, no action has been taken,” he said. The corporation, in its reply, said all schools in South MCD have fire extinguishers, buckets of sands, water tanks and fire alarms. Mayor of South Corporation Kamaljeet Shehrawat said, “Now that this has been brought to my notice, the gaps will be fixed.”