Safety norms in commercial building

HC summons UT Chief Architect

HC summons UT Chief Architect

Saurabh Malik
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, February 25

Less than a week after three girls were killed in a fire tragedy in the city, a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has summoned the UT Chief Architect before making clear its intent to examine adherence to safety norms in commercial buildings — to begin with.

“Lack of fire safety in Sector 17 buildings will endanger the lives of occupants of such buildings. It needs to be ascertained whether the safety norms are in place in all such buildings,” the Bench of Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Karamjit Singh asserted.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by Bhupinder Singh against the Chandigarh Administration and other respondents. The case revolves around building plan violations.

As the case came up for resumed hearing, counsel for the petitioner submitted before the Bench that the only question that remained to be examined was whether a second staircase had been sanctioned as per the new safety norms.

The UT counsel, in response, prayed for some time to seek instructions in the matter. “As the building in question is situated in Sector 17, the possibility cannot be ruled out that a similar situation may be existing in other buildings as well,” Justice Gupta asserted on behalf of the Bench.

The directions are significant as fire incidents in the city’s downtown are not uncommon.

A fire in a four-storey building in Sector 17 had led to its collapse about four years ago.

It was followed by much ado virtually for nothing and the incidents continued.

Available information suggests a fire broke out in September 2016 following a short circuit on the first floor of a bank’s main branch in Sector 17. Furniture worth lakhs and record was destroyed in the fire.

Again in July 2017, a treasury and accounts office located on the fourth floor of a building in Sector 17 Bank Square was engulfed in a fire.

The smouldering issue was set ablaze again after three girl students were killed and two others injured in a fire inside a congested paying guest accommodation in Sector 32. The residential building was reportedly found violating a number of fire safety norms.

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