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MCH threat puts flat owners in a fix

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ACTING TOUGH: A notice declaring a complex at Masab Tank unsafe for not implementing fire safety norms. Photo: Mohd. Yousuf
ACTING TOUGH: A notice declaring a complex at Masab Tank unsafe for not implementing fire safety norms. Photo: Mohd. Yousuf

M. Srinivas

Action to be taken against those failing to implement fire safety measures

HYDERABAD: Flat owners in some multi-storied buildings are in a quandary. The Municipal Corporation of Hyderabad (MCH) has threatened action against several such buildings if they do not comply with the prescribed fire safety measures within a week.

After the Fire Services Department had declared 141 multi-storied buildings `unsafe' last year, the MCH has served notices on 83 owners and residential associations of high rise buildings to adopt "feasible" fire safety measures.

Some apartment buildings are said to have taken up installation of fire safety equipment estimated to cost between Rs. 10 lakhs to 40 lakhs for installation of wet risers, fire extinguishers and construction of water storage tanks etc.

Who is responsible?

There are others wondering as to how they could be held solely responsible when it is the builders who had violated the setbacks and other norms. "Building violations have occurred during the construction stage itself. Why did the MCH not take action then instead of penalising us now" is the common refrain of flat owners.

"Why should we alone bear the brunt?" asks Maheswari Complex Flat Owners Welfare Cooperative Society treasurer V. Srinivasa Murthy. A notice has been pasted at this eight-storied building located at Masab Tank Crossroads last month by MCH.

What has complicated the issue is that several such buildings were constructed and even permissions obtained in the landowners' name. "As per records we can only serve notices to the persons who have taken up construction. If they are not present the next alternative is the flat owners association," explains a senior MCH official. Interestingly, more than 300 builders who have constructed such multi-storied buildings in mid-80s and 90s are untraceable.

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