Residential high rises more vulnerable to fire
Management committees of group housing societies and residents blame each other for poor maintenance of fire safety norms
If commercial high rises have inadequate fire safety measures, the situation is more shocking in group housing societies and residential high rises in various parts of Delhi. RWAs and management committees of these housing societies are quick to blame government agencies for not conducting mock drills and spreading awareness about the perils of a fire, but when asked about maintenance of fire fighting equipment in their own buildings, their responses are unsatisfactory.
Rejimon CK, an office bearer of a registered forum of around 300 group housing societies in Dwarka, says “I can’t give you even one society’s name in which firefighting equipment is in ideal condition. Residents don’t want to spend money on these things.”
Other RWA federations echo the same concern. “When management committees of housing societies want to raise capital for fire safety issues, residents turn down the proposal. People want every facility without paying a penny. There is no ideal example of maintenance of firefighting equipment even in societies in Mayur Vihar extension where reputed lawyers and journalists live,” says Shankar Bhan, chairman, Federation of Mayur Vihar Extension Group Housing Societies.
There is another side to the story too. There seems to be a trust deficity between the management committees and the residents. “In my society, three years ago people showed a lot of interest and contributed money for the upkeep of fire-safety equipment but the manage- ment committee gobbled the fund. Our fire system is still in shambles,” says the resident of a group housing society in Mayur Vihar Extension.
Residents’ bodies feel stringent legal provisions might bring about a change, but the real change should come from within the residents themselves.
Nothing comes for free: Many residents of Delhi NCR demand fire fighting facilities, but are not willing to pay for it