SIX months after Mumbai Heritage Conservation Committee (MHCC) formed a sub-committee of heritage and fire-fighting experts to draw up a fire safety framework for heritage structures,the sub-committee has not inspected a single building.
After an MHCC meeting in November last year,the group comprising conservation architects,fire officers and heritage committee members was formed. It planned to inspect all heritage structures in the list and frame safety guidelines on a case-to-case basis.
Fire audits of heritage buildings is a crucial aspect in their conservation. Built years ago,these buildings are prone to short circuits as they may not be equipped to handle the increased pressure from old electrical wiring and the installation of modern appliances. At present,there are no specific codes for cessed and heritage buildings in the National Building Code of 2005.
The sub-committee was to be chaired by Maharashtra directorate of Fire Services and the chief fire officer of Mumbai Fire Brigade.
However,MHCC members claim fire officers have shown little interest in the audit exercise. We have been repeatedly told that the fire officers are too busy to spare time for performing a safety audit of heritage buildings, said an MHCC member.
According to MHCC chairman V Ranganathan,based on the case-to-case audit,a report was to be prepared for the heritage committee to form guidelines for better fire safety in these buildings.
We are waiting for a report from the sub-committee, said Ranganathan. Till date the sub-committee has conducted an audit on only one heritage structure Bombay High Court. The HC itself requested it, said another MHCC member who is part of the sub-committee.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer S A Kale,representative of Mumbai Fire Brigade in-charge of safety audit,said the sub-committee had only met once till date. We have not yet conducted any checks on heritage structures yet. We only do fire audits when we are requested to do so by the residents, said Kale.