VISAKHAPATNAM: Think twice before booking a function hall or attending a marriage at the venue this marriage season.
Almost 95 per cent of about 143 Wedding/function halls in the city do not have “No Objection Certificate” (NOC) from the Fire department of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC). More shocking is that even the GVMC function halls lack the NOC.
According to the norms of the Fire department, the owners of the function halls have to follow the rules like commodious places right from parking slots, stair case, a number of fire safety equipments in each floor, exits/entry points, width of entrance gate (four metre) and exit floor (six metre) to allow fire fighting equipments in case of any untoward incidents like fire and water sprinklers in each floor and a few other things are required tp get the NOC.
Many of these kalyana mandaps are constructed in interior areas and narrow lanes where even the firemen are unable to enter the premises during a fire accident.
“Though the wedding halls maintain basic fire safety norms, we do not issue the NOC until they meet all the safety norms. The wedding halls in the city meet about 50 per cent of the norms and almost 95 per cent of the halls do not have the NOC.
If the space is congested, we also ask them to equip with more fire safety equipments but even then they fail,” said a senior GVMC officer.
GVMC sources said that many wedding hall owners do not renew their NOC and end up paying fines.
They do not even replace fire extinguishers and sprinklers from time to time, which is a major point of concern.
“For timely replacement of the equipments the owners bring them just to show that they are using the equipment. But there is no assurance that the equipment will work in case of an emergency,” added the officer.
The fire department officials advice the public to check the fire safety norms before booking any function hall for marriage or any other function.
The space of the auditorium, fire equipments, capacity of the hall, entry/exit points are important points on the checklist, say officials.