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No fire safety measures in majority of Rajasthan housing board high-rises

The fire and emergency services department of Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) often issues notices to owners of private and commercial establishments for flouting fire safety norms . In case of a fire, a majority of the Rajasthan Housing Board (RHB) high-rise buildings could turn into death traps for its occupants. The fire and emergency services department of Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) often issues notices to owners of private and commercial establishments for flouting fire safety norms. But, it seems to have turned a blind eye towards the high-rises constructed by the (RHB) as more than 35 buildings have neither installed fire safety measures nor procured No Objection Certificate (NoC) from the JMC. High-rises situated in Pratap Nagar, Mansarovar and Indira Gandhi Nagar are posing serious threat to thousands of residents in absence of fire safety measures. In majority of high-rises fire extinguishers, sand buckets and other equipment to control fire are missing. Moreover, barring some fire-fighting measures like smoke alarms, sprinkler systems, which the fire department advises for all buildings and emergency staircase other security measures cannot be seen in these housing societies. Vivek Sharma, who owns a flat in Vyas apartment said, “The state government agencies are ignorant about such a major issue. Notices are only being issued to commercial establishment to earn revenue however, residents’ safety is not a concern. There is no fire-fighting system in place and thousands of residents are at risk,” A source in the JMC, who asked to remain unnamed, said, any building with ground-plus-four floors or more and a total height exceeding 15 metres is considered a high-rise. “These are classified further as residential, educational and institutional, and specific safety guidelines are provided for each in the National Building Code. It is mandatory for all high rises whether government or private to procure fire NoC,” said a source. As per the norms, an NOC from the fire and emergency services is mandatory for the local municipal authority to approve building plans. After the completion of construction, the structure is to be inspected and certified by the fire department to ensure that fire safety norms under the local building bylaws and the National Building Code have been followed as per the approved building plan. The fire safety clearance certificate is also to be renewed once every two years. However, the process is not followed as majority RHB apartments have not even procured NoC. “Many apartments including Pratap, Vyas, Gomti have not procured NoC,” said an RHB source.