January 10, 2009 1:45:16 am
High-rises in the city will now have to carry fire audits twice a year or lose out on water and electricity supply,the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) announced on Friday. The decision comes a week after the state administration brought the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act,2006 from cold storage.
The idea is to make sure that developers follow the fire-safety norms in a stringent manner. The fire-safety system can get corroded due to wear and tear. The idea is to make sure that the civic body and the state administration learns about the various high-rises in the city every six months, said MV Deshmukh,Director-General,Fire,Urban Development Department.
According to fire officials,any building above the height of 15 metres qualifies as a high-rise. All high-rises will have to regularly maintain their fire-fighting system and get a maintenance certificate on a regular basis, said Joint Fire Officer,P D Kargupikkar. Offenders will be given three-hour intimation before an inspection is conducted. Initially we will cut their electric supply and water supply. Also before taking any legal action we will give them reasonable time to fix the irregularities. This time frame will differ from case to case. For instance,if a building does not have a pump we will give them a period of 2-3 days to fix it up so on and so forth, said Kargupikkar.
The civic body will also come out strongly against buildings which do not comply with the fire-safety norms. After the commencement of the Act,any new buildings which do not comply with the rules will not be given the occupational certificate (OC), said Deshmukh. The fire brigade will also carry out a detailed inspection of all the parts of the construction before giving the OC.
According to fire officials,the penalty for defaulters under this Act is set to go up from Rs 30,000 to Rs one lakh. Failure to adhere to fire-safety norms will be deemed as a non-cognisable offence,the punishment for which would include possible imprisonment from six months to three years. However,officials confirmed that this will only be the last step. We dont want to go with arbitrary punishment; the idea is to initially make the people realise the importance of fire safety, said Deshmukh.
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