NOC mandatory for high-rise buildings, says A.K. Khan

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CAREFUL CHECK: Director-General of Fire Services A.K. Khan inspecting a fire tender at Swaraj Maidan fire station in the city on Friday.
CAREFUL CHECK: Director-General of Fire Services A.K. Khan inspecting a fire tender at Swaraj Maidan fire station in the city on Friday.

Staff Reporter

A very few owners follow the norms

  • For NOC, owners to submit self-assessment form
  • Theatre owners asked to install emergency lighting system

    VIJAYAWADA: Director-General of Fire Services A.K. Khan on Friday made it clear that a `No Objection Certificate' (NOC) from the Fire Services Department was essential for the commencement of construction of high-rise buildings across the State. If any civic body issued permission to builders who did not obtain an NOC, the official concerned would be liable for punishment under the provisions of the Andhra Pradesh Fire Services Act, 1999, he said.

    Visit ends

    Addressing a press conference at the end of his two-day visit to the city, Mr. Khan pointed out that owners of very few high-rise buildings were following the norms laid down by the Fire Services Department. The department had inspected 4,135 buildings of more than 15 metres of height, which would be referred to as `high-rise', and found that only 376 buildings had NOCs. Of the 376, only 39 buildings had been given the Occupancy Certificate towards final clearance, he said. "This is the sorry state of affairs in the Fire Services Department. As per the norms, all the 4,135 buildings should have had occupancy certificates, but only less than 1 per cent of these obtained the certificate in the last two decades," he said.

    Following High Court directive, the department had made NOC mandatory and simplified procedure. For obtaining an NOC, building owners would have to submit a self-assessment form in the nearby eSeva centre. A committee of three fire officers would inspect the site and recommend the issuance of NOC. "We will fix a timeframe for the completion of the entire procedure. The NOC will be issued only after the three officers give their consent," he said.

    Cinema threatres

    On fire safety in cinema theatres, Mr. Khan said that the High Court had asked the managements to install emergency lighting system, public address system, yard hydrate system and smoke management facilities in the theatres.

    "The theatre owners can install the equipment without making structural changes," he said.

    Mr. Khan said that the department would be strengthened with 23 station fire officers, 126 driver operators, 327 firemen and 770 home guards. The Union Government had sanctioned Rs. 118 crores to procure the equipment in a phased manner. In the first phase, equipment worth Rs. 17 crores would be procured for twin cities, he explained.

    Fire tender inspected

    Mr. Khan, during the day, visited the fire station at Swaraj Maidan and interacted with firemen. He inspected the fire tender meant for putting off fire at industrial units. Fire personnel explained to him the functioning of the tender, in which dry chemical powder (sodium bicarbonate) would be used to put off fire.

    A delegation from Vijayawada Film Exhibitors' Association met Mr. Khan at the Police Guest House.

    Association president and secretary M. Venkateswara Rao and R.V. Bhupal Prasad respectively explained various steps being taken by the managements to ensure fire safety.

    Expressing happiness over the developments, Mr. Khan told them that installation of emergency lighting system, public address system and yard hydraulic system in theatres would be of great help to managements during exigencies.

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