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Scanner on buildings violating fire norms

Siliguri, Dec.23: At least 200 residential and commercial high-rises in the civic area have violated fire safety rules laid down by the Siliguri Municipal Corporation, a recent study has revealed.

Officials said if further scrutiny established that parts of the buildings were illegally constructed, they would be dismantled.

“We have spotted 200 buildings which violated different rules. There are deviations in building plans and we have found that basements and parking spaces are used for different purposes. We are scrutinising building plans, finding out violations and inquiring into alternative use of places like basements, which otherwise are dedicated parking spaces,” said Seema Saha, member, mayor-in-council (buildings) of SMC.

She added that the scrutiny was likely to be over by the end of the month and the drive to dismantle illegal structures will begin early next year.

The civic body started the drive to check fire safety measures in nursing homes and buildings across the town after a fire in AMRI Hospitals in Calcutta killed over 90 people.

“In two recent incidents of fire at Church Road and Bidhan Market, the trend of using dwelling units as commercial godowns has come to our knowledge. We will stop this practice and instruct the owners to use the dwelling units for residential purposes only,” Ranjan Silsharma, the deputy mayor of the SMC, said.

The civic body had served notices on nursing homes in the civic area earlier this month, asking them to follow fire safety rules. “Around 20 nursing homes have written to us seeking more time. We will wait till the end of the month. In case it is found that they are still not adhering to the fire safety norms, the SMC will dismantle the structures and might also advocate the cancellation of licenses of the nursing home. The commercial licenses granted to such establishments from our end would also be cancelled,” said a senior representative of the SMC.