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Buildings in Maharashtra to pay extra for fire prevention and safety

Written by: Staff
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Mumbai, July 23 (UNI) Buildings in Maharashtra will soon have to shell out a special fee for constitution of a special fund for setting up and upgrading fire prevention and safety measures.

A bill to this effect, ''Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act 2006'', was passed in the Legislative Assembly during the Monsoon session of the State Legislature.

The fee will not be applicable to buildings controlled by the State and Central governments and residential buildings which are less than 15 feet high.

The fire service fee structure will vary as per the height of the building and number of occupants.

With a growing number of rural populace flocking to urban centres in search of jobs and better standard of living, the pressure on available limited urban space has mounted. The bustling cities, towns and suburbs are racing towards development. There is growing trend of undertaking more and more different types of buildings and also setting up of large slums in the metropolitan cities and other urban areas where there is rapid growth of industrialisation and educational facilities.

In Mumbai alone, there are approximately 3500 high-rise buildings.

There are sky-scrapers and the tallest building in Mumbai is 153 meters high with 45 floors. Among the most famous skyscrapers in the city are Oberoi Towers (117 meters), World Trade Centre (111 meters) Express towers (105 meters) and the Air India building (105 meters), Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who introduced the bill in the legislature, said.

According to him, large commercial, mercantile, educational and entertainment complexes have been constructed and are also in the process of being constructed. Majority of these constructions are prone to frequent fire hazards.

Schools are the most vulnerable buildings which are least regulated from the point of view of fire prevention and life safety measures. After the Kumbakonam tragedy in Chennai, it has become imperative to consider providing fire prevention and life safety measures in different types of buildings.

The special fund will be utilised on training fire officers and fire personnel, sophisticated equipments and appliances for effectively controlling and extinguishing the fires occuring in such buildings and for periodical inspections.

The office of a director, Fire Services, will be established. He will have control with regards to fire services throughout the State.

Negligence will be dealt with sternly. A fire officer or supervisor for buildings with height of over 30 meters will appointed by every owner and occupier. The building may be used as a hotel, hospital, business, merchantile, mixed occupancy.

The act will come into effect after the President's sanction. The levy of special fee will not be with retrospective effect.

UNI MR MAZ 1033

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