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Parking curbs easier set than enforced in crammed city

Mumbai,with more high-risk buildings than anywhere else in the state,would need to resemble a fortress if the government were to implement the Security Control rules just announced.

Written by Shweta Desai | Mumbai |
March 6, 2009 2:54:06 am

SECURITY CONTROL: Citizens welcome guidelines but find key rule impractical

Mumbai,with more high-risk buildings than anywhere else in the state,would need to resemble a fortress if the government were to implement the Security Control rules just announced.

The mandatory shatter-proof panels,bulletproof security outposts,2-metre-high compound walls and steel armoured columns will be difficult enough,though most agree that such rules are in the larger good given the changed security perception since 26 /11.

What will be more difficult,and what is facing opposition,is the ban on parking inside buildings and in basements in such buildings.

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According to the rules,high security buildings – and these could include office buildings in business districts – should not have basement parking space,either under the structure or in a 9-metre circumference around it. The 9-metre mark will be a minimum stand-off point where vehicles may drop visitors.

This will be most difficult to implement in areas that are most prone to terror,such as the commercial business district of Nariman Point or congested office areas of Fort or Ballard Pier.

B K Katyal,vice president of the Nariman Point Churchgate Citizens’ Association,welcomed the security control rules but felt the parking restrictiosn were impractical. “There is not enough open space in Mumbai,especially in Nariman Point,to allow for separate parking lots and therefore every building has basement parking. Although visitors’ vehicles can be prohibited,at least executives and members of the building should be allowed to park inside,” he said.

His association will study the rules and submit suggestions to the government. Members of the committee that laid the guidelines suggested that buildings buy land nearby and build parking lots there.

Committee chairman N V Merani,former principal secretary of the Public Works Department,stressed the restrictions. “If a parking lot is a must then it should be in the open space on the compound and not directly beneath the structure. Basement parking will be permitted provided the columns are steel-armoured and are highly fire-resistant,” Merani said.

The clause was incorporated after studying a pattern in attacks where cars in parking lots were used for causing explosions,leading to collapse of a building.

Colonel M Masand,CEO of Jaslok Hospital,said hospitals would take the recommendations seriously and try to follow as many as possible. But he too said,“Not using parking space in the structure will be a bit difficult to follow,but all other measures can be undertaken,” he said.

Subhash Mayekar,chairman of the Siddhivinayak Temple,said most of the recommendations,including those on parking,are being followed.

MAJOR BUILDINGS
* Compound wall 2m high
* For buildings on corner plots,boundary walls 10m long,built with 0.75-m-thick concrete and reinforced with iron mesh/bars
* Vehicles must drop visitors at least 9m away
* Separate entry-exit points for people and material
* Display of maps of exit routes
* Flourescent signs pointing at escape routes
* No parking in open spaces
* Bulletproof glass and inbuilt toilet at security outpost
* Control room for security/surveillance
* CCTV coverage of main gate,reception,common open areas,lifts,lobbies,compound
* Shatterproof windows,glazing and cladding
* Direct outlets like skywalks for tall buildings
* Vertical chutes from upper floors

Design rules
* Maximum combination of mass and stiffness
* Collapse-resistant even if one corner or column is removed
* No open stilts
* Minimum thickness of stilts in the ground floor and in basement,should offer fire resistance for three hours
* On all exposed columns,12mm steel plates up to 2m height starting from 15 cm below ground level
* 45-cm-thick wall facing direct vehicular approach
* No direct road into building
* Separate depository room,away from main building for visitors’ baggage

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