Bengaluru: Bengaluru was shocked and horrified at the major fire that broke out at a branch of the Uco Bank on M G Road in the heart of the city on Wednesday,
but it could be sitting on more such potential disasters as many of its buildings , both and government and private, don’t have adequate fire and safety measures
In many cases, the builders are said to have faked the Occupational Certificate (OC), which is issued by the BBMP for the sale of properties.
Worryingly, as many as 23,000 apartment complexes of over 50 units each in the city don’t even have an OC, which is issued on the basis of the fire safety
measures in place in a building, according to Mr.
N R Ramesh, a BJP leader, who has approached the Lokayukta, Anti- Corruption Bureau (ACB) and the ACMM court demanding that criminal action be taken against them. He has also submitted a complaint to the Chief Secretary on the issue.
The 23,000 apartment complexes have been developed by 368 builders in the city, many of whom are among its most prominent builders, he claims . “All are
members of CREDAI, the apex body of Private Real Estate Developers’ Association and Bangalore Realtors Association of India (BRAI),” he said.
“The hearing is going on in the ACMM court. Only 684 buildings in the city have been given an OC and for another 1,800 properties, the OC is under process.
How can you expect any safety measures, particularly for fire safety, in such properties?” Mr Ramesh asked.
The situation is much worse in BBMP buildings across the city, according to him. “Although thousands visit the Public Utility Centre (PUB), City Market and
Kalasipalya market every day they have no safety measures in place You don’t find even a bucket of loose soil in these places. If anything should go wrong, only
God can help the people,” he added.
Mr Dwarakanath, a BBMP councillor from Shanthalanagar ward, agrees that many old buildings have no fire safety measures in place. “I will hold a meeting
with the authorities concerned to tackle this issue,” he promised.
When contacted, deputy director (administration), Shivakumar of the fire force department, said that it had already issued notices to buildings without adequate
fire safety measures in the city, which included many of its old buildings.
“ Once the notice is served they are given 90 days to comply with the fire safety norms and get a certificate from us. If they don’t fall in line, another notice is
served, giving them 30 days more. If the property owner does not respond even then, we will write to the BBMP for cancellation of the OC issued to him and to
BESCOM to disconnect his power supply,” he warned.
Mr Shivakumar said strict instructions were being given to authorities like the BBMP and the tahsildars (in rural areas) to issue an NOC for buildings with a
ground plus three floors only after they have provided adequate fire safety measures.
Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun too agrees that old buildings don’t have fire safety measures in place. “ This is a complex issue and will have to find a solution at the government level for it,” she said, when contacted.
Asked why the BBMP had done nothing about fire safety in the city’s buildings even after major fires in some of them, she said she would write to the BBMP
commissioner about this and he would draw up plans to deal with fire safety in all buildings, especially those that are old.