BENGALURU: Mall owners, who were served notices by the Karnataka Fire and Emergency Services for flouting safety norms, say that all the lacunae identified by the fire department will be set right at the earliest.
Suresh Singaravelu, Executive Director-Retail, Hospitality & Business Expansion at Prestige Group, said, “We have received the notice from the department concerned and are looking into the matter. As a group, we are committed to the best safety practices.”
“None of the violations mentioned in the notice served to us are of structural nature. If any discrepancy has crept into our commercial establishment over a period of time, we will rectify it and we will do it well before the deadline,” he added.
The notices were served to 18 malls in the city on January 2. The crackdown happened after the High Court directed the authorities concerned to inspect the high-rises and find out if these buildings are well-equipped to handle emergency situations with special emphasis on fire safety.
M N Reddi, DGP-Fire Services, said, “There are two types of violations: external and internal. All the malls have to provide space (setback) for fire trucks and ambulances to ply during emergency situation. During our inspection, we found that these spaces were encroached upon in violation of the National Building Code 2005.”
The DGP said that many of the malls were also found with internal structural violations, where they had failed to provide safety platforms for rescue work being carried out during emergency situations or staircases leading to basement.
However, Aditya Sikri, CEO (Retail and Commercial), Mantri Developers, said, “Mantri Square has always been in compliance with the law, and already possesses the required approvals and entitlements. We always take recommendations and observations from the authorities seriously and work in a collaborative manner to implement it.”
“We also have specialised teams of service advisers and security personnel to keep vigil and assist our customers at all times during operational hours,” he added.
Not Easy Task
Meanwhile, the DGP said that the malls’ move to set things right before the expiry of the deadline was welcome, but it was not an easy task. Among the ones that have been served notices are those where LPG godowns, ice-cream shops and parking spaces block the emergency space.
Vishal Mirchandani, CEO (commercial and retail) Brigade Group, said, “We have received the notice for just one violation and we are in the process of setting it right. It will done well in time. I would rather consider this as a suggestion from the department concerned and, as a group, we are committed to following such suggestions and not compromise on our safety standards.”