Visakhapatnam's function halls sitting atop powder keg
In case the building is less than 10 metres high, a water tank on the terrace, booster pump, manually operated call point (MOCP), water drums, sand etc. are required.
VISAKHAPATNAM: Are you thinking of booking a function hall? Make sure the lives of your loved ones are not in jeopardy. Over 95 per cent of function halls in Visakhapatnam do not have the Fire Department’s mandatory No Objection Certificate, but charge exorbitant rental rates.According to records of the Fire Safety Wing of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC), the city has about 143 function/wedding halls, but just nine of them have NOCs. What’s worse, the department has made few attempts to shut down unsafe halls.
Only 9 per cent of the city’s halls have NOC, Regional Fire Officer (RFO) P Swamy confirmed. “The department has been sending fire audit notices to erring owners asking them to request for NOCs at the earliest, but many aren’t bothered at all. And most who applied weren’t able to secure the safety certificate as their halls failed to meet the required conditions,” he said.To be given NOC certificates, halls must have quality fire fighting equipment, proper space for staircases and adequate number of entry/exit points keeping in mind the size of the hall.
In case the building is less than 10 metres high, a water tank on the terrace, booster pump, manually operated call point (MOCP), water drums, sand etc. are required. If the building is taller, more precautions need to be taken. Adequate entry/exit routes, staircases and a fire detection system are to be installed. Several function halls here are situated in congested areas, making it difficult for fire tenders to reach the spot in case of emergencies.
“It’s not that fire equipment alone is enough, a lot many aspects need to be verified to provide a no objection certificate. Notices are being served to function halls in the city which are without NOC,” Swamy told TNIE.Fire officials caution that there is an increased risk of short circuits in summer, making fire safety measures all the more important.
95% halls unsafe
143 number of function/wedding halls in city
9 have no objection certificates