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SC-appointed panel found many glaring lapses in fire safety norms

SC-appointed panel found many glaring lapses in fire safety norms
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NEW DELHI: In the time of its investigations, the Supreme Court appointed monitoring committee in Delhi, found various lapses in properties regarding fire norms violation which could be dangerous for the city in Delhi, asserted the members. The committee also said that it informed about the violations to the authorities and urged them to take actions against many such properties. "When we were looking at the properties at the South Delhi we have found the various violation. We also informed the authorities concerned and the Police too. We also sealed some of such properties," said a member. The panel which was appointed by the Supreme Court to find out the illegal properties throughout Delhi also headed the sealing drive which led to a political battle. "Fire norms come under the state and municipal authorities, it's not our purview but illegal properties also violate fire norms which we identified," the panel noted.

Meanwhile, according to the panel Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Act is one of the biggest problems to take steps against the violators. Under the NCT of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions), unauthorised colonies that existed as on March 31, 2002, or where construction took place up till February 8, 2007, are protected from punitive action till 2020. This means local authorities cannot act against encroachment or unauthorised development.

"The problem is not one dimensional but multi. There are various agencies involved in such sanctions. Government, municipality, police and others. There is no one rule by which the other party can stop the license that is why such violations exist," an official explained. The Delhi government's fire department has already started surprise inspections to find out lapses and also referred the matters to the Delhi Police.

Delhi has not been alien to unauthorised construction in both commercial and residential areas. Courts have taken notice of the matter time and again, even as reports of such buildings turning into death traps trickle in every now and then. To keep a check on illegal structures, the Delhi High Court, in February 2006, notified the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to remove commercial construction from residential areas. The SC had constituted a three-member committee to look into the menace of illegal constructions in 2006. The committee had back then ordered the sealing of over 5,000 illegally operating

commercial units in the city. It was revived on December 15 this year after it submitted reports highlighting rampant unauthorised constructions

in Delhi.

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