Photo by BL SONI
Photo by BL SONI

Mumbai: The BMC corporators have questioned the fire department’s ability to douse fires in high-rise buildings. They have also slammed the administration for shrugging off its responsibility in the matter by saying the onus lies on high-rise building tenants to ensure fire safety.

In a standing committee meeting held on Thursday, Sanjay Mukherjee, Additional Municipal Commissioner, said that buildings with more than 30 floors have to take the responsibility of fire safety and should conduct fire audits every six months. “According to the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measure Act 2006, each high-rise building of more than 30 floors should be capable of tackling fires on its own. But we have taken the recent Prabhadevi fire into consideration and will ask the department to take further precautionary measures,” he said.

Manoj Kotak, corporator and group leader of the BJP, said, “This is like saying, if you stay on the top floor of a building, you will be living ‘ram bharose’. This is not done and this is not how the administration is expected to reply to such grave issues.” Apparently, the fire department ladders can only go up to 30 floors. Anything above that, the firemen can only stand and spray water, in the hope that the fire gets doused.

Corporators also questioned BMC on whether permission should be given to construct complexes over 30 floors. “The basic question is whether the city should have buildings above the said height. If the corporation is not able to tackle the situation, they should not issue a no-objection certificate to such buildings,” said Vishakha Raut, Shiv Sena group leader. Rais Shaikh, group leader of Samajwadi Party, said Mumbai’s firefighting is not of international standards and hence people opt for lower floor apartments. “The city boasts of a real estate sector of international standards but now the claim stands corrected,’’ it was pointed out.

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