Hyderabad: As many as 1.61 lakh commercial buildings in the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation area do not have fire safety measures. The civic body directed 650 hotels to set up fire safety measures. However, buildings in the densely populated areas of Secunderabad, Ameerpet, Banjara Hills, Jubilee Hills, Kukatpally, Madhapur do not have fire prevention measures. Citing this, the Municipal Administration and Urban Development principal secretary, Mr Arvind Kumar, asked the GHMC to raid these places and fix fire safety measures immediately.
According to sources, there are more than one lakh buildings in the core and peripheral circles of the GHMC area that are not fire-safe. According to official data, out of 2.42 lakh commercial buildings, only 81,000 have obtained fire safety certificate from both the civic body and the Telangana State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department. The corporation has given fire safety permission for 39,526 commercial buildings which are of 15 metres height of G+4 floors while the latter has accorded 41,474 permission for buildings above 15 metres or G+4 four floor buildings.
The functioning of the fire safety equipment, however, is a question mark since both the nodal agencies have failed to monitor them continuously.
For instance, Chandralok commercial complex, Suryalok Complex and Swapna Lok complex near Paradise in Secunderabad do not have any fire safety measures. With each of these buildings accommodating 2,000 persons on any given day, the threat they pose is grave. Most of the commercial buildings in Kukatpally, Serilingampally, Quthbullapur, LB Nagar, Maheshwaram, Malkajgiri, Kapra, Alwal, Rajendranagar, Ramachandrapuram and Patancheru too do not have fire safety measures. Though fire extinguishers and sprinklers have been installed, officials from both the nodal agencies claimed that they did not function. This apart, most government offices including GHMC headquarters, zonal and circle offices, HMDA headquarters, Water Board offices, buildings maintained by the electricity, irrigation departments and others do not have fire safety measures.
Against this backdrop, Mr Arvind Kumar directed the GHMC commissioner M. Dana Kishore to appoint special squads to conduct fire and safety audit of commercial buildings and complete the task in a month’s time. He also asked Mr Kishore to make a weekly assessment of the work carried out after which a comprehensive report would be submitted at the month-end to the government.
Mr Kumar instructed the GHMC to conduct an emergency fire and safety audit of commercial buildings in areas under its jurisdictions to examine whether they have fire safety standards/proper fire exit mechanism in place and/the fire safety equipment is maintained periodically. He said that a comprehensive screening should be done in all cases. He directed officials to serve notices and initiate appropriate action and ensure that there is a complete stop of violations.
It may be recalled that during the recent inspections by the principal secretary in various locations in the GHMC area, it was observed that compliance to fire safety standards by buildings including restaurants, hotels, hostels, hospitals, schools and function halls etc was shoddy. It was felt that there was an urgent need for the GHMC to get vulnerability analysis done of all densely populated, important and hazardous buildings in its jurisdiction, assess and fix the requirement of equipment and manpower so that accidents are prevented and if they occur, are tackled promptly.