Out of 2.8 lakh hazardous structures, 1.01 lakh are schools or colleges. According to rules, commercial and residential buildings above 15 metres and 18 metres in height must obtain an NOC from the fire department before construction.

The A.P. State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department has identified more than 2.80 lakh hazardous premises in both Telangana and Seemandhra regions of the State – 1.01 lakh of them happen to be schools and colleges.

Inspections carried out between April 2007 and March 2014 show that only 1.09 per cent of such premises had obtained no-objection certificates (NOCs) from the Fire Department. However, department officials, said the figure does not include data of buildings that sought NOCs from municipal authorities. Only structures that have more than five floors, those below 15 metres, for commercial spaces, and 18 metres, for residential spaces, have to obtain NOCs from the Fire Department.

As per the statistics, 1,01,522 schools and colleges were found lacking fire-safety norms, while the second-largest category was of business offices (78,258) in both regions. Also, 30,039 and 26,086 small-scale industries and wholesale shops respectively were also declared hazardous among all categories of buildings identified by inspecting officials.

Of 1,534 cinema theatres and 30 multiplexes inspected, only a dismal 11 and five respectively had obtained NOCs. Among the statistics are various types of buildings like hotels, godowns, medium and large-scale industries, petrol pumps, chemical industries, bulk storages of electronic and electrical equipment, hospitals and nursing homes among others.

“Schools are extremely hazardous as children are not aware of their surroundings and need to be guided during fires. Similarly, hospitals have patients who are immobile, and need to be transported out quickly during fires,” pointed out N. Sambasiva Rao, Director-General, State Disaster Response and Fire Services Department.

Building- owners being prosecuted

He said his department had begun prosecuting the owners of buildings that had no NOCs and violated fire-safety norms. “Most violators break rules as following fire-safety norms entails costs. Not having those precautions brings down the construction cost,” Mr. Rao said.

According to rules, commercial and residential buildings above 15 metres and 18 metres in height must obtain an NOC from the fire department before construction.

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