HYDERABAD: Violating its own rules, the GHMC has allowed schools and hospitals to be housed in four high-rise buildings. The information is part of the corporation’s claim that it has accorded permission to 11,538 buildings and mopped up over Rs 797.13 crore in 2020-21.
As per norms, all schools should be housed in “educational” category buildings and not in domestic or commercial structures. Official sources say no schools must operate from a high-rise building, since that would endanger lives of thousands of children.
The risks are that children may fall from such buildings or their lives may be endangered in case there is a fire accident. They might also get stuck in elevators. Several such incidents have been reported in the past.
As per norms, schools functioning out of buildings between six and 15 metres must take an NoC (no objection certificate) from the corporation, while those operating out 15-metre buildings have to take an NoC from the Disaster Response and Fire Services department.
Schools have to provide fire extinguishers on each floor, apart from hose reels, down comer, water storage tanks both underground and on the terrace, automatic sprinklers and fire pumps. The external staircases should land on the ground floor.
To mop up revenues, exemptions from these requirements have been given to schools, function halls, cinema halls, multiplexes, malls and religious places, which are six metres and above in height and stand on a 500-square metre plot area. Junior, degree and engineering colleges, universities and professional institutions are all exempted from securing a Fire NOC, as per a circular issued by Director-General of Fire Services on June 3, 2017.
An official statement released by GHMC said that number of permissions issued had decreased during 2020-21 due to the Covid-19 pandemic last year and its aftermath. GHMC said to protect real estate industry from effect of pandemic, the state government had taken a decision in July 2020 to allow payment of building permission charges in four equal instalments, one at the time of issuing the permission and remaining three every six months thereafter. A five per cent rebate had been given to applicants who paid full amount at one go without availing the instalment facility.
"Such government orders have led to increase in builders seeking building permissions and construction activity picked up in later part of the financial year. The instalment facility, which was initially given till March 31, 2021, has now been extended till June 30 following requests from the industry," an official release added.