Fire-safety NOCs stuck amid rising COVID-19 cases in city

New Delhi: Over 750 applications for a no-objection certificate (NOC) are now pending with the Delhi Fire Services as officials have been unable to conduct inspections amid the rising number of COVID-19 infections in the city, officials here said on Monday, adding that these applications were received since the lockdown began and have not been processed.

Fire-safety no-objection certificates (NOCs) are presently only being issued on an emergency basis during the lockdown for government establishments and hospitals after following the protocol, the officials said. They also said the pending NOC applications were from various establishments, including industries, restaurants, guest houses, hotels and schools. Maximum applications were received from guest houses and restaurants, a majority of which are still closed due to the restrictions imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Activities like the issuance of NOCs, training sessions, public awareness campaigns and fire-safety inspections will likely remain suspended for a while amid the rising novel coronavirus cases, the officials said, adding that the applications had come in between March 21 and June 30.

According to data shared by the fire department, the north zone received 148 applications, the south zone got 328 and the west zone got 225 applications for NOCs from various outlets till June 30. The DFS had also received 49 applications on its online portal from June 15-30. The fire safety certificates are valid for three years and the establishment concerned should apply for renewal of certificate six months prior to the date of expiry.

The department said it had suspended all activities amid the lockdown except carrying out firefighting operations and had also played a crucial role in sanitising work in containment zones like Nizamuddin, Markaz, Bhogal, Jangpura, Okhla Mandi and other areas.

"Many of them who applied for NOCs were in the hope that the lockdown would be lifted soon, but it kept getting extended," DFS Director Atul Garg said. "Even now, requests are pouring in, but although lockdown has been lifted, majority of these establishments are still closed."

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