Vijayawada: Absence of fire safety measures in commercial establishments in the city pose a danger to the common people.
Though there are strict norms to be followed while obtaining permission for running commercial establishments, many do not give much importance towards fire safety.
Also, lack of coordination between the various departments makes it easy for the builders to flout fire safety rules. Many commercial establishments like theatres and shopping malls do not even have fire exits.
According to district fire officer D. Niranjan Reddy, big showrooms also did not obtain any NOCs yet. Apart from these, fire safety officials found lacunae in many commercial buildings on MG Road and Eluru Road.
Even many of the hospitals in the city are not in accordance with the fire safety norms. Officials find fault with the circular that has been issued recently by department of health that NOC was not required for the hospital buildings that are less than 15 meters in height.
However, every commercial building which is more than six meters in height should get fire safety systems installed, according to the fire department’s safety norms.
A separate external staircase and a setback space for assembly point is mandatory for escape in case of fire in highrise buildings. However, due to lack of space in the old constructions, business establishments are not complying with the norms.
Many industrial and storage godowns in Autonagar, Enikepadu and Nidamanuru areas did not have any fire safety preparedness, said Mr Reddy. There are about 50 big storage godowns in Autonagar alone which can be in danger if fire accidents occur, he said.
Even though the fire department has been issuing notices, because of the lengthy process involved to take the violators to prosecution stage, and the meagre penal amounts, there is not much compliance.
It is learned from the fire officials that one of the major industries in the district has also not complied with fire safety regulations.
The lack of coordination between various departments is also the reason for the builders to neglect implementing fire safety norms.
“The municipal administration should insist on NOC from the fire department which is not happening in letter and spirit,” said Mr Reddy. He said that some the builders give reasons like these rules were not in force when the building was constructed,” he said.