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HC tells fire department to inspect high-rises in Ahmedabad

The Gujarat high court on July 26, asked AMC’s chief fire officer to conduct a random survey daily of the 908 high-rises in the city to inspect what fire safety measures they have, and report to the court in three weeks.

These 908 buildings do not have ‘No Objection Certificates’ (NOCs) from the fire department. Of the total of 1,232 high-rises, 25 buildings are old ones and do not have fire safety systems installed at all. But 908 buildings do not have the certification which mandatorily be obtained from a committee which includes the chief fire officer.

During the hearing on a PIL, the petitioner’s counsel Amit Panchal submitted that the buildings that do not have NOCs from the fire department are required to be inspected, and necessary measures should be taken in this regard. The chief fire officer M F Dastoor said he would inspect five buildings everyday to see whether fire safety systems exist in them. He is also expected to look into the issue of renewal of NOCs.

Besides, the high court directed the state government to form a committee to study and suggest legislation for fire safety. The state urban development department issued a circular to form a committee comprising the chief fire officers of cities which is to be headed by the AMC commissioner. This committee will come up with suggestions on what rules should be made to make people adopt measures to prevent fire accidents after three months.

On July 2, 2001, a division bench of the high court had issued directions in this regard. When the directions were not complied with, a PIL came to be filed a couple of years ago and the court took up the issue once again.