At least 149 buildings in Chennai violate fire safety norms


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At least 149 buildings in Chennai have been placed under the scanner of Special Task Force (STF) for fire safety norm violations. The State fire services department will soon make checks on these buildings to ensure corrective measures are taken by their owners, said CMDA member-secretary Anshul Mishra.

Tamil Nadu government issued an order on December 17, 2018, to constitute two special task forces to address issues pertaining to encroachments, unauthorised construction, and enforcement of provisions of Second Master Plan in Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA) and other areas that come under the jurisdiction of Directorate of Town and Country Planning and Composite Local Planning Authority.

The latest drive comes after the fire safety STF conducted a meeting after a gap of 20 months in January this year. The STF also carried out a separate study on fire safety measures needed in congested areas with narrow roads such as George Town, Purasawalkam, Triplicane, and T Nagar.  

The task force was formed after the Centre in 2018, in accordance with a suggestion of the Supreme Court, asked all States to take necessary steps to ensure fire safety measures in buildings.  

Five of 16 buildings in Chennai, where major violations were detected during an enforcement drive carried out against 396 buildings that got approval after May 2021, could also be issued with lock and seal notices, Mishra said.

All five buildings were constructed beyond approved height. While a residential area has been converted into a hospital in one case, there is shortage of car parking space in another one, sources said.

 Enforcement drives will now be carried out regularly as CMDA staff strength has been enhanced through new recruitment drive, Mishra said.

Mishra added that the CMDA is also trying to reduce time taken to clear layout files: “We have come out with a document checklist. This will be helpful in complying with CMDA norms.! Previously, layout files were prepared by the layout division of the CMDA. Now, to reduce time and ensure transparency, applicants have been asked to submit layout drawings themselves.

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