high-rise-towerIn our second week of NMTV Fire Safety Initiative, NMTV Dy. Editor Sana Warsia met the Palm Beach Residents Association and discussed the worrisome scenario of violations of all fire safety norms in High Rises on Palm Beach Road. The association admits that the situation is alarming, that builders don’t care and the time to check the implementation of the Fire Safety Law 2006 in high rises on Palm Beach Road has come. No high rise on Palm Beach Road has the final NOC from the Fire Dept. of NMMC. Each has been served notice for violations of Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006. To put it simply all the high rises on Palm Beach Road are violating fire safety norms putting the life and property of all residents living in them in grave danger. Like we have told you earlier, the builders on Palm Beach Road wanted OCs obviously to sell their properties. They didn’t care whether they were following fire safety norms. That is why in nexus with NMMC officials they procured OCs after taking a conditional NOC from the Fire Brigade. What is alarming is that despite occupants coming and living in towers on Palm Beach Road, yet till date no builder of the high rises on Palm Beach Road has procured the final NOC from the NMMC Fire Dept. because a final NOC will be given only when builder have provided everything mandatory under the Fire Safety Law of 2006. This includes * Fire extinguisher * Automatic sprinkler system * Down comer * Hose Reel * Wet risers * Yard hydrants * Automatic detection and alarm systems * And underground static water storage tank with 50,000 to 75,000 litres capacity. But none of the builders of high rises on Palm Beach Road have provided this. And whatever little that they have provided has either been stolen or is not in working condition. This means that there is a grave danger looming large on the lives and property of residents living in high rises on Palm Beach Road. As we followed up the issue for the second week in a row on NMTV “Fire Safety” initiative, we took up the matter with the Palm Beach Residents Welfare Association – one of the few active association of the city that have alert citizens taking up issues of citizens and ensuring a solution for them. Jai Prakash – the General Secretary of the Association who is also a resident of a high tower on Palm Beach says when the new Fire Safety Law 2006 came into effect, his society appointed a private agency to check their equipments and they were shocked on the report they got as most equipments were not in working condition. Talking about how ignorant citizens about fire and safety laws he says that once there was a cylinder blast reported from their society and the lady didn’t know what to do. He says that the way the numbers of high rises have increased, the time to take fire safety norms with utmost seriousness has come. When we questioned whether the rampant practice of builders to work in nexus with NMMC officials and grossly violate fire safety norms, he says that the builder’s never care about anything once they get their money for the property sold. As for societies he says that often they don’t know what the builder has installed and think they are secure. Their society too felt the same but now they checked, it exposed the violations. He says that there is an urgent need to push the high rises in complying with fire safety norms. The General Secretary of Palm Beach Residents’ Welfare Association added that there is a need to create awareness in high rises on Palm Beach Road to check the implementation of Fire Safety Act 2006. Until builders do not follow the law and NMMC does not take action against builders who are violating the fire safety norms, the lives and property of residents living in high rises of Palm Beach Road are in grave danger. Referring to the personal experience of his society, the General Secretary of Palm Beach Residents’ Welfare Association admits that the present situation is alarming for the residents living in high rises on Palm Beach Road. There is no two ways about it – its time the residents of all high rises on Palm Beach Road must unite to take up the Fire Safety Laws with their builders and societies. Residents should know that if their builder sells property and gets out of the picture now, then members of the managing committee of any society will be held responsible if any fire incident claimed life and property of residents in future. And the law for violators is very strict. Hear from the Director of Fire Services of the state that those who violate fire safety norms in high rises or other constructions face a non cognizable offence and will be imprisoned. In other words, the new Fire Law has pinned accountability of fire incidents with stringent punishment. If residents don’t make their builders accountable for implementing fire safety norms, then the law of the land will hold residents accountable. In that case it will be a win-win situation for builders and “all lost” situation for residents. The NMMC administration does not care, the Bronto Skylift is useless and high rises are grossly violating fire safety laws. The time has come. Residents of high rises on Palm Beach Road must stand up for their own lives and property by taking up the implementation of Fire Safety Act 2006 with their builders. Don’t forget, it’s not just any other fire act – it is your life’s safety act. Sana Warsia for NMTV News.


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