How often have you seen an emergency exit or fire-fighting equipment that ensures safety at marriage halls? Quite evidently, the focus is on decoration and cuisine. A tragedy waiting to happen as the halls are grossly ill-equipped to handle eventualities arising out of a fire accident. Believe it or not! Mere 15 halls (out of total 109) in the city have fire-fighting equipment.

And, less you speak on parking facilities is better. As many as 63 function halls do not have parking facilities causing inconvenience to the public. What is even more shocking is that even marriage halls built by VMC do not have ‘proper parking facilities.’ For instance, at Gupta Kalyana Mandapam, most of the times, the people park their vehicles on the road. Another example, Kandukuri Kalyana Mandapam in Gandhi Nagar does not have parking facility.

The irony is-- a month ago, the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (VMC) conducted a meeting with owners of marriage halls and kalyana mandapams at Padmasali Kalyana Mandapam in Labbipeta here.

Major inconvenience

VMC planning and fire wing officials convened the meeting at the hall that does not have proper parking facilities and fire safety equipment. CPI(M) city secretary Ch. Babu Rao says, “there is no doubt that parking is a major inconvenience to the public. But, the government decision seems to be impracticable as the issue has been neglected over years. In fact, some of the VMC halls do not have parking facilities.”

With many of these halls being over 50-years-old, they are prone to electric short-circuits due to old electrical connections and wiring and lack of maintenance, which could prove to be a disaster if adequate fire safety equipment is not in place, felt an official.

Vijayawada Function Halls Association general secretary Y. Srinivas says that they are ready to install fire equipment. The government has to suggest a way out for parking as most of the halls were constructed 50 years ago. The association will submit a memorandum to the Municipal Commissioner and MLAs shortly, he says.

The corporation served notices under Section 461(A) of HMC Act on fire safety and parking facilities to the halls owners, and the government is very serious on parking facilities and fire equipment, the official says.

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