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RESIDENTS LIVES IN DANGER AS BUILDERS OF ALL TOWERS ON PALM BEACH ROAD VIOLATE FIRE SAFETY NORMS

palm-beach-1In a shocking expose NMTV News has got information from the NMMC Fire Brigade Dept. that none of the High Rises on Palm Beach Road have the final NOC of NMMC Fire Dept. All the towers have been served notices and still fire fighting equipments and machinery required for towers are not in place. On NMTV “Fire Safety’ Initiative; we met the Director of Maharashtra State Fire Services on the fire safety violations in towers on Palm Beach Road. M V Deshmukh has clearly stated this is a non cognizable offense that can land violators in jail. These towers on Palm Beach Road are credited for enhancing the elite look that it gives to the road, however not many know that these towers are sitting on a bomb that can explode anytime. This is because none of the high rises on Palm Beach Road have the final NOC of the NMMC Fire Fighting Dept. This information has been given to NMTV News by reliable sources from the NMMC administration. These sources inform that former NMMC Chief Fire Officer R T Mhatre had given a conditional NOC to these towers to get occupancy certificates. A conditional NOC means that at the time all the towers on Palm Beach Road were given Occupancy Certificate, the NMMC Fire Fighting Dept. did not test the fire equipments in the towers nor conducted an inspection whether fire safety norms were followed by the builder. In other words, the conditional NOC is a mockery of fire safety norms that helps builders escape fire safety violations with help of NMMC administration. The conditional NOC to procure OC stinks of the NMMC administration and builder’s corrupt nexus at the time when R T Mhatre was the Chief Fire Officer. What more shocking is that – not juts these towers but all buildings above 5 floors in Sanpada are violating fire safety norms. When the state enacted the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, it rung an alarm bell at NMMC that sent notices to all towers on Palm Beach Road a year ago. However till date none of the towers on Palm Beach Road or other construction in Sanpada have fulfilled the fire safety requirements and none have taken the final NOC for the NMMC Fire Brigade. Today most buildings either do not have fire safety equipments or most of their equipments are stolen. When NMTV News visited one of the towers Sai Pride built by popular developer Paradise Group, the builder’s representative in the building refused to show us their fire system or speak to us on the matter. Like Sai Pride, all towers on Palm Beach Road are still is possession of the builders. Perhaps what is worse is that all these builders heavily rely on the NMMC Fire Dept. thinking that the department would attend to any fire case in the high rises. The NMMC Fire Dept. in turn is banking on its sole aerial ladder – the much hyped Bronto Skylift. However fire officers in NMMC have failed to operate the complicated machine time and again. The Chief Fire Officer of NMMC Vijay Rane himself has gone on record to tell NMTV News that the skylift cannot be operated at high levels due to pressure of air. Despite knowing that they have no knowledge and do not have the skill to combat fire in towers, the NMMC Fire Dept. has initiated no action against builders’ violating fire safety norms. Sources within the NMMC administration say that, the influence of all the builders of the towers on Palm Beach Road is so much on the top bosses in NMMC that despite knowing these violations, have not taken any action yet. When we tried to contact the NMMC Chief Fire Officer Vijay Rane on the matter, he said that he had specific instruction from his superiors to not divulge any information. In fact, no official from the NMMC administration is ready to speak on this issue. When they refused to speak to us, NMTV News took up the case with the man in charge of fire services and emergencies in Maharashtra State – M V Deshmukh. Specifying what has been made mandatory, the Director of Maharashtra Fire Services enlisted what is mandatory for buildings about 15 meters i.e. above 5 floors. Speaking about the need for buyers and citizens to take fire safety rules seriously, he says that fire laws should be seen as life safety laws. He says that it is very unfortunate the fire is an ignored entity in India. Speaking about how stringent the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006 is, M V Deshmukh says that builders or others who violate fire safety norms in high rises or other constructions face a non cognizable offence and will be imprisoned. We also brought the grave fire safety violations in towers on Palm Beach Road and inaction of the NMMC Fire Dept. to book the violations to the attention of Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik, who assured to look into the issue. Residents in towers pay Crores to buy their dream homes but there is no value for their lives. The rampant corruption prevailing due to the builders – officials’ nexus has led to gross violations of fire safety norms in towers on Palm Beach Road. That is why NMTV Fire Safety Initiative will take up the issue of violations until builders adhere to fire safety norms in towers on Palm Beach road because its time to stop the corrupt nexus of builders and officials from taking your life and property for granted. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.

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