Commercial markets of Chennai not following the fire safety norms
Reply to a RTI application from the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) department has revealed that commercial establishments on Ranganathan Street in T. Nagar (Chennai) had not complied with building norms, including fire safety measures. A safety audit conducted by the TNFRS found that 90 per cent of the buildings had violated norms, after which they decided to inspect all the buildings that were in violation of fire and life safety system. Not even a single firm had replied to the show-cause notices issued by them. The building violations take the form of additional floors, thereby increasing the fire load, lack of escape staircases/ blocked or locked escapes and exists, which pose serious threat for effective evacuation at times of emergency. Further, in most multi-storeyed and special commercial buildings, the statutory requirement of water storage for exclusive fire fighting was either inadequate or absent and this was coupled with the absence of fixed fire fighting installations.
The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) has recently informed the Madras high court that no fire safety measures were in place on Ranganathan Street and Usman Road area of T. Nagar, where several commercial buildings were situated.