Thursday, February 25, 2010

BBMP, fire brigade blame each other

BBMP, fire brigade blame each other
By: B V Shiva Shankar Date: 2010-02-24 Place: Bangalore

Fire officials put the blame on BBMP for the Carlton Towers tragedy, because it had issued the Occupancy Certificate (OC) to the building, which had violated numerous by-laws

"Rescue operations became difficult because the building norms were not followed. We could have saved many lives had the norms been followed," said P S Sandhu, inspector general of police, fire and emergency services.

Whose fault? Several civic and safety measures were found to have been disregarded at the Carlton Towers. Pic/Satish Badiger

It's the law

The Other Side

Anurag Jain, president of Carlton Towers Owners Association, was evasive when asked about the norms that were flouted. "This is not the time to discuss all this. Let us concentrate about the victims and the ways to help them," he said.
As per a Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) building by-law, a building must allow a setback that is proportionate to its height. Carlton Towers is a seven-storied building, and is around 35 metres high. Building norms stipulate that the setback should have been 11 meters, but the compound has a space of hardly 5 meters. To allow surface parking inside the compound, it must have an additional space of 2.5 metres, in addition to the setback. Carlton Towers allowed surface parking in this cramped setback, making it difficult for the fire brigade to park their vehicles. Many people in the building panicked and jumped to their deaths.

"It is illegal to put hoardings inside the compound, but I saw three hoardings on pillars, blocking the way," said Sandhu. At the exit gate, the building administration had fastened a chain to two pillars, to regulate vehicular movement. These pillars were the main hurdles for the fire tenders, which struggled to cross them, even as occupants jumped from the building. Absence of water sprinklers, underground water tank, fire exit indicators were among other shortcomings. The BBMP, which is supposed to inspect these details, before issuing an occupancy certificate (OC) is pointing fingers at the fire service, while the latter puts blame on the former.

"Before we issue an OC the fire services have to issue a objection certificate (NOC) after conducting a thorough inspection, which they had. We have given our nod based on their opinion. Why are they blaming us now?," asked Kumar, assistant engineer, town planning, BBMP.


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