South Delhi civic body to apply tighter fire norms for guesthouses

news- The new measures have been prepared in accordance with the bylaws laid down by the fire department

To prevent incidents of blaze at restaurants, guesthouses, banquet halls and eateries, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) has come out with fresh fire safety guidelines. People applying for health trade licences or their renewal will have to adhere to these guidelines.

The guidelines await approval from SDMC’s deliberative wing. “We will place them in the next standing committee meeting, and if required, we will take an anticipatory approval from the mayor after the guidelines are approved. We aim to implement the norms by early next month,” said an official.

The new measures have been prepared in accordance with the bylaws laid down by the fire department and as per the gazette notification dated May 27, 2019 issued by the department of urban development, Delhi government.

A senior fire official had recently slammed SDMC over delay in implementing the bylaws, which was notified in 2011. After a major fire ripped through Arpit Palace in Karol Bagh on February 12, 2019, trapping its guests and staff, fire safety norms were made more stringent. All guesthouses above 15 metres in height were also banned.

“Fresh guidelines will make it mandatory for the eating establishments of more than 90 sq metre floor area, banquet halls above 75 sq m floor area and discotheques above 30 sq m floor area to obtain fire NOCs. The corporation will issue health trade licences only after they get the fire NOC,” the SDMC official added.

While guesthouses more than 15 metre high are banned, those with height between 12 metre and 15 metre will need fire NOCs. Guesthouses with less than 12-metre height have, however, been kept out.

Delhi Hotel Mahasangh president Arun Gupta said early implementation of guidelines was important because the owners of guesthouses and restaurants would need time to abide by them. “The civic agencies have stopped renewing licences for six months. Recently we got to know that the deadline for implementing these norms would be March 31. We need time to make changes,” he said.

The guidelines do not allow storage of inflammable material on rooftops and temporary roofing using any inflammable material. “While no kitchen on rooftop or basement will be allowed, natural or mechanical arrangements for smoke ventilation will have to be made at corridors and staircases,” said a corporation official.