Staff Reporter

Action follows joint inspection by committee

Committee cites difficulty in operating hydraulic platform (snorkel)Builder has only partially removed office room on the terrace, says panelAll the fire safety measures complied with, say builders

HYDERABAD: The Fire Services Department has issued a fresh notice on the builders of Hyderabad Central, a shopping mall at Panjagutta, for violating fire safety norms. The noticed was served after a committee comprising officials from the MCH and Fire Services Department conducted a joint inspection in February last.

The committee has observed that the existing open spaces have different levels with gradients from all sides and that it is difficult to operate the hydraulic platform (snorkel).

During a mock drill conducted on February 18, 2006, the snorkel was operated only from the north side. It could not be operated from east and west sides due to the parking of vehicles. Similarly, the number of units of means of escape required is 18 units but only 15 units are provided.

Violations cited

The committee further stated that the builder had partially removed the office room on the terrace and erected a galvanised iron sheet roof, which is being used by employees. The width of internal staircases is also not in accordance with the National Building Code (NBC) norms, the committee said.

"Under these circumstances, it is not possible for us to act swiftly if a mishap occurred in the building," a senior official from the Fire Services Department said. He said even snorkels could not be operated from all sides, as the open space around the building was not levelled.

He advised the builders to comply with the conditions and rectify the deficiencies in the interest of the people. When contacted, the builders maintained that they were following all the fire safety measures and blamed the officials for raising the issue once again. "There are several builders who are violating norms, but the Fire Services Department is very concerned with our building only," a representative of the company, which constructed the mall, said under conditions of anonymity.