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

HT Estates - - Front Page - Jee­van Prakash Sharma

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

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