More than 1,000 mansions, guesthouses, hostels and service apartments in the city that are violating safety and public health norms may soon be shut down.

The Chennai Corporation is set to conduct a major drive to lock and seal such buildings and has already issued circulars to its 15 zonal officers asking them to ensure buildings in their zones take steps to adhere to norms.

The move follows concerns raised recently at a Corporation Council meeting about such establishments, as a wide variety of communicable diseases are regularly reported from them. Unhygienic food is believed to be the main contributing factor.

Corporation officials said these buildings, mostly in Perungudi, Sholinganallur, Triplicane, Adyar, Teynampet, Anna Nagar and Ambattur, were also flouting building norms and operating without trade licences.

To deal with this, the Corporation has come up with a new licencing system, under which zonal officers will issue licences under section 279 of the Chennai City Municipal Corporation Act to all such buildings.

The Act specifies stringent health and safety rules, which all buildings must put in place in order to obtain the licence.

Failure on their part to take remedial measures or obtain the licence would lead to their closure, an official said.

Only a small segment of these establishments have obtained registration certificates under section 101 of the Tamil Nadu Public Health Act. Registration certificates are also mandatory for these establishments.

Grounds on which action can be initiated include failure to provide 40 sq.ft. of floor space and 400 cubic feet for every occupant, to paint the walls according to specific directions, to install fire fighting equipment and CCTV cameras, to lay washable flooring, to maintain a supply of boiled drinking water and to prevent accumulation of garbage on the premises.

Accommodating more people than stipulated and employing workers with infectious diseases can also invite cancellation of licences.

The Corporation official said that notices would shortly be issued to establishments that do not comply with these norms.

Many of these buildings violate health & safety norms, Corporation officials said