Now, the fire and emergency services department will send the list of violators to the district court to initiate filing of criminal cases against owners of these buildings. Assistant law officer (NMC) Ajay Mate told TOI that four cases have already been filed in the court.
TOI has already reported how big structures, especially hospitals and commercial buildings, ignore firefighting norms thereby putting the life of visiting people at risk. There are thousands of violators, said sources.
After issuing several notices and reminders to owners of these properties, the department approached the Nagpur city police to initiate action against them. However the city police refused to file FIRs against the violators and instead advised the department to seek district court’s help.
Data obtained from NMC’s fire and emergency services department revealed that it has shortlisted the list of 105 property owners, including residential, educational and hospitals, who were functioning without obtaining no-objection certificates.
There are 116 property owners who had obtained NOCs but failed to comply with firefighting norms. These 226 properties have been shortlisted against whom criminal cases will be filed.
Of both the lists of buildings with and without NOCs, industries comprise the highest number of violators. The data revealed that as many as 60 industries operating in NMC limits, followed by 56 educational institutions, had obtained provisional NOCs but did not comply with firefighting measures.
Of the 226 properties, the department had already filed criminal cases against Sanjay Kukreja (director of Magic Food Court), Naresh Thakur (Popatlal Patel of M/s Kalka Enterprises), Harmindar Singh Khanduja (Hotel Heritage) and Lalitbhai Patel (M/s Hansumukbhai Patel) for not complying with fire fighting norms. The court had also issued summons against the owners and directors of these establishments.
Therefore, NMC’s law department initiated the process to file criminal cases against them. If charges are proved, there is a provision of three years imprisonment and Rs50,000 fine, said NMC legal officer Venkatesh Kaple.
Chief fire officer Rajendra Uchake said the move was initiated after big buildings, hotels, hospitals, industries and shops ignored the notices served by the department for violating sections 5, 6 and 8 of the Maharashtra Fire Prevention & Life Safety Measures Act.
Despite several deadlines, the owners of such buildings gave no response, said Uchake.