ANDHRA PRADESH

High-level committee to review fire safety norms

M. Srinivas

To blacklist public places lacking in guidelines



Officials declare 2,158 cinema halls as ‘unsafe’

430 restaurants labelled as highly-prone to fire



HYDERABAD: Peeved at the lackadaisical behaviour of owners of cinema theatres, hotels and malls in implementing fire-safety measures, the State government has decided to have a high-powered, multi-disciplinary committee to review safety measures of such properties.

A Government Order (1477) was issued two weeks ago states that if any such public places were found to be lacking norms, then the 11-member committee headed by Principal Secretary to Government (Municipal Administration and Urban Development), will recommend blacklisting of builders, architects, structural engineers and other technical personnel involved.

Fire traps

Other panel members include Principal Secretary (Home), Secretary (Law Department), Commissioner, GHMC, DG, Fire Services, Vice-Chairman, HUDA, MD, Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board, Director, Town Planning and representatives from AP Transco and DGP’s office.

“With this order, we can now initiate stringent action against erring owners,” Fire Services officials affirmed.

Most malls are potential firetraps because they housed restaurants and pubs with kitchens on the same premises.

No open space

There is not much of open place on all four sides to help in fire fighting and rescue operations.

It would virtually be impossible for a hydraulic platform to enter the premises in case of a fire.

The major fire accidents that took place at Pushpanjali commercial complex at Koti, Moghal Court, Basheerbagh, Meena Jewellers, Somajiguda in 2006 and a garment’s showroom at Abids and a footwear outlet in Ameerpet in 2007 are classic examples of how shopping complexes are virtual firetraps.

In theatres, scores of cinegoers continue to be at risk. Officials have already declared 2,158 cinema halls ‘unsafe’.

Even managements of some star hotels and lodges ignored the safety measures. About 430 restaurants, including some with bars attached, are highly-prone to fire accidents, it is said.

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