Wednesday, July 19, 2006

BMP serves notice on Bangalore Central

BMP serves notice on Bangalore Central

The Hindu

`There is no space around the mall for movement of fire tenders'

# Bangalore Central official says fire-fighting equipment matches international standards
# Open space around it reportedly used for parking

BANGALORE: The Bangalore Mahanagara Palike has served a notice on the Bangalore Central Mall for lack of fire-fighting facilities.

According to the Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services, in the event of fire, there is no space around the mall for the free movement of fire tenders to extinguish the fire. Equipment to fight the fire is also lacking, senior officials of Fire Services told The Hindu .

The Chief Marketing Officer (Central) Rajesh Seth, who is incharge of the operations of Bangalore Central, denied the charge and said that the mall was run professionally. The facilities for fire fighting matched international standards, he said.

Norms set by the BMP, conforming to the National Building Code, 1997, are clear in their objective: prevent as much loss of life and property as possible in the event of emergencies such as a major fire. The Karnataka State Fire and Emergency Services Department has been designated as an agency for issuing No Objection Certificates to buildings, 15 metres and above in height, in the planning stage itself and for clearance certificates before such buildings are occupied.

It has been laid down that the road which abuts a high-rise building should be more than 12 metres wide, the minimum width for free movement of fire services vehicles, especially those with hydraulic platforms and turntable ladders. Every high rise building is also required to have at least two means of access, not too close to each other, with specific dimensions to facilitate free movement of fire fighting units. It also lays down the setbacks or open spaces around buildings.

Officials of Fire and Emergency Services said the open space around Bangalore Central mall was not free for the movement of fire tenders as it was being used for parking two-wheelers. Only a portion of the space, which was earlier used for eatery stalls, had been cleared. They said that in case of fire accident, fire tenders would find it difficult to put out the fire. The fire services department brought this to the notice of Department of Urban Development in November 2004 and March 2005. In their reports, it had been mentioned that the "no-objection certificate" was given for starting a business complex. But the building now houses a commercial establishment, the fire services officials said.

The Urban Development Department, in turn, asked the BMP to take action. Mr. Seth said they had not received any notice from BMP as they were not the owners of the building. The Bangalore Central has taken the building on lease. Hence they cannot comment anything about the design of the building. On the safety aspects, Mr. Seth said the management prescribed high standards and the mall had taken all possible precautions to tackle emergencies.

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