How Safe Are Highrises? Fire In City Reignites Concerns, ET RealEstate

March 24, 2024

<p>Representative Image</p>
Representative Image

BHUBANESWAR: The fire at a four-storied building at KIIT Square on Friday has re-ignited the issue of safety of people living or working in high and semi-highrises that allegedly do not possess fire safety certificates.

According to the Agnisama Seva portal, four major fire divisions of the city have received 1,095 applications for fire safety certificates so far out of which approval has been given to only 467 buildings, which is less than 50% of the applications.

The chief fire officer division of the city has received a total of 79 applications out of which 35 got the fire safety certificates, the central range has received 371 applications out of which 148 got approvals and the city circle has got 457 applications out of which 186 got the approvals. Similarly, the assistant fire officer division has received 188 applications out of which 101 got approvals to receive fire safety certificates.

When it comes to state level data, different fire stations of the state have received 7,483 applications out of which 4,120 have received approvals so far.

The buildings which applied for fire safety certificates include all kinds of structures such as schools, hospitals, residential apartments and commercial properties. In reality, the capital city has more than 6,000 such structures.

The rate of implementation of various provisions of law regarding to fire safety is very low not only in the city but also in the state. “The number of applications — from 1,000-odd buildings — is quite low,” real estate expert Bimalendu Pradhan said.

Not only commercial buildings but also residential apartments lack fire safety certificates, which is evident from the number of occupancy certificates (OCs) granted to them by the development authority in the city.

According to data, out of 1,116 housing projects registered with the Odisha Real Estate Regulatory Authority (ORERA), only 55 buildings have got the OCs. Occupancy certificate is a document given to apartments which adhere to environmental, fire safety and planning norms.

Only 5% apartments in the city have got the occupancy certificates which is a testament that the rest of the buildings have flouted fire safety and planning norms and are not fit to be occupied, Pradhan said.

Following back-to-back fire-related incidents, the govt introduced online application system for granting of the fire safety certificates. The property owners need to apply through the portal following which an audit is done and certificate is granted to them. “Random fire safety audit of residential and commercial buildings needs to be done especially for the bigger ones. Mock drills also need to be conducted to make people aware of what to do in case of such untoward incidents like fire,” social worker Alok Kar said.

  • Published On Mar 24, 2024 at 03:00 PM IST

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Abhay Singh

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