Thiruvananthapuram

Fire safety rule: Corpn. helpless

Local body says it has the power only to issue notices if norms are violated

Limited powers and lack of expertise prevent the city Corporation from taking action against violation of fire safety norms in buildings already provided with occupancy certificates. In response to a communication from the Fire and Safety Department on norm violations in a many high-rises in the city, the Corporation Secretary has said that the local body can only issue notices to the owners of such buildings, while any further action has to be from the department.

Two still pending

As per the twelfth schedule of the Constitution, added by the 74th Amendment Act of 1992, eighteen functions come under the purview of the local bodies. But, only 16 of these functions have been transferred till now, with fire services being one of the excluded functions.

“Since it does not come under the purview of the Corporation, there is no expert here who can assess fire safety, nor do we have the powers to make such checks. This has to be done by the Fire and Safety Department. Our only function is to check whether the fire NOC has been provided at the time of clearing the occupancy. We can only take solid action in the case of violations of building rules or if there is an unauthorised construction,” said a Corporation official.

The process

At the time of application of the building permit for high-rises an initial NOC from the fire department has to be submitted. The occupancy certificate is provided only after the final NOC is procured from the fire department. After this, the NOC has to be renewed every three years, but here the Corporation does not come into the picture as the fire department handles it.

By-law planned

“We can only take action when alterations are made to the initial structure or when the parking space has been built up or the area around the building has been reduced. There is a plan for a by-law so that we can constantly monitor and take some action in case of violation of fire safety norms,” said an official.

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Printable version | Jun 6, 2020 4:38:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/fire-safety-rule-corpn-helpless/article26594575.ece

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