Last week the NMMC Fire Brigade organized an exclusive demonstration for NMTV to prove that they have the expertise and equipments to handle fire in towers. However the demonstration ended up in exposing how inefficient and ill-equipped the NMMC Fire Fighting Dept. is. The department is making tall claims and boasts about having the Bronto, while in reality even the Bronto Skylift does not guarantee safety of life and property in city towers. So the big story that we are tracking this weekend is, “Are City Towers Dangerous for Living?” Last week NMTV News brought to you a report on how the NMMC Fire Brigade was inefficient and ill equipped to handle fire in city towers. In a mock demonstration organized by the Navi Mumbai Fire Brigade, exclusively for NMTV; it was confirmed that the NMMC Fire Dept. in fact, does not have the expertise or equipments to tackle fire in city towers. To begin with there was a system failure during the demonstration and it took over 10 minutes to resume the operation. That too only after panicky NMMC Fire Officers and technicians checked the machinery of the Bronto Skylift and the premises where the demonstration was held. Not just this, the fire chief himself confessed that at the higher floors of the high rises, due to wind; it is difficult to operate the Bronto Skylift. If the NMMC Fire Brigade’s failures came to light when they knew well in advance about a mock demonstration, then what will happen during a fire, which comes without any intimation? The demonstration has clearly doubts on the reliability on the NMMC Fire Brigade and raised the question “Are City Towers Dangerous for Living?” This is because today there are innumerable towers coming up in the city. And most of these are violating the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006. Perhaps you too should know that the act makes its mandatory for : BUILDINGS 15 TO 35 METRES HIGH * Fire extinguisher * Automatic sprinkler system * Down comer * Hose Reel * Manually operated electric fire alarm system * Terrace tank of 25,000 litres capacity BUILDINGS MORE THAN 35 METRES HIGH * Besides all the equipment for smaller buildings, they will need * Wet risers * Yard hydrants * Automatic detection and alarm systems * And underground static water storage tank with 50,000 to 75,000 litres capacity. However majority of the towers in the city today ranging from 15 meters to above 35 meters do not have the above equipments. In addition to this every structure that has 10 floors and above “MUST APPOINT FIRE OFFICERS”. If your building does not comply with these rules approved recently by the state, then a single complaint from your end on the failure to install the mandatory equipment can book a non-bailable offence against land-owners or occupiers and send them to jail – the period ranging from six months to three years in jail. However instead of creating awareness about this, the NMMC administration is busy inaugurating Bronto Skylift and trying to grab media publicity. However beneath the glittering decorations, the NMMC administration is just trying to cover up the dangerous reality that the city still faces in wake of the increasing numbers of towers. The worst perhaps are projects like Swaraj Builders and Developers’s Queen’s at Koperkhairane and Kesar Group’s tower Kesar Solitaire in Sanpada. That’s because, even the bronto skylift cannot reach the top floors of these towers that are above 90 meters. In such a scenario, there’s no doubt that living in towers in Navi Mumbai is dangerous to life and property. And do not undermine the dangerous they pose by getting lured by the corrupt nexus of money minded builders and selfish officers. See for yourself; at these visuals of fire in towers because when fire strikes in towers the dangers is beyond what you can fathom. Known for manipulating policies and neglecting violations of fire safety norms, the NMMC Fire Brigade Dept. seems to be playing with fire. However what they fail to see is that somewhere this means that they are playing with the lives of innocent citizens. The only way to stop this unholy business of this unholy nexus of builders and officials is to begin a citizens’ movement. But until that happens, there is no doubt that living in high towers is dangerous. With Bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.