Hyderabad with various violations of municipal and fire safety regulations is a sitting duck for fire accients. Numerous shopping malls, apartments, schools and also hospitals built in total negation of fire safety rules is a high risk for school children shoppers and also residents in flats. According to the civic body’s fire prevention wing, there are about 1,860 schools running without fire safety equipment and relevant permissions under the corporation limits.
With fire accidents in the twin cities on the rise, the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is wary about schools, malls, hospitals and function halls that do not have a no objection certificate (NOC). “We are going to conduct a special drive next month against all those who do not comply with the norms. We intend to seal the institutions and take them to court,” Saleem Khan, incharge additional director, fire prevention wing, GHMC, told City Express. The GHMC has already slapped notices on these schools, hospitals and other establishments not once but thrice.
The 1,860 schools identified across the five zones of the GHMC were first slapped with a notice over a year ago. The final one was served last month. On the other hand, only 457 schools under the GHMC limits adhere to fire safety norms and have received NOC from the officials.
According to the data available with the fire prevention wing of the GHMC, 489 hospitals in the five zones in the city do not have an NOC while only 273 have it. Among the five zones, the highest number of erring hospitals (114) are in the east zone. The central zone, north zone, south zone and west zone have 76, 69, 37 and 33 such hospitals respectively.
Similarly, about 451 shopping malls and complexes, 212 hostels, 250 function halls and 183 hotels, lodges, and bars in the twin cities do not adhere to the norms and are vulnerable to fire accidents. “All business establishments, public resorts, hospitals, institutional occupancies, godowns etc must have fixed fire fighting installations on their respective premises as per the National Building Code, part-4,” said Saleem Khan, admitting that there were thousands of establishments in the city that do not have the NOC.
The organisers of the exhibition, where 60 stalls and four trucks were destroyed in a massive fire on Wednesday, too did not apply for and procured an NOC from the fire prevention wing.
“Fifteen days prior to setting up the establishments, the party has to approach the GHMC with the layout, detailed plan etc. They need to provide a fire pump connected with the generator and should have a 50,000-litre water tank (static underground tank). Police should also check all the permissions including the fire NOC,” said Saleem Khan. But the Kukatpally police had granted permission to the organisers even though the GHMC had rejected permission and NOC.
When asked about the requirements that schools need to meet with, the incharge additional director said, apart from adequate fire exit passages and external staircases for buildings with four or more floors excluding the ground floor, the schools also need to install ‘down comer fire system’- a fire pipeline and fire hydrant outlets — on each floor connected to the overhead tank with booster pumpsets.Even though residential buildings having a height of up to 18 meters are exempted from obtaining NOC, he said all schools and hospitals irrespective of their height should comply with the fire safety norms.