Home Dehradun Over 67 hospitals in U’khand operating minus fire NOC

Over 67 hospitals in U’khand operating minus fire NOC

By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 30 May:  An RTI response by the Uttarakhand Police’s Fire Department has revealed that a large number of hospitals, schools and commercial buildings are operating without obtaining the mandatory NOCs from the Fire Department. It may be recalled that recently a paediatric nursing home in Delhi had caught fire in which several babies had died, drawing attention to such carelessness prevailing across the country. One RTI Inquiry has revealed that over 67 hospitals in Uttarakhand are operating without obtaining the mandatory NOC clearance from the Fire Department. This is despite adequate provisions under law that failure to obtain fire permission in buildings where people gather such as hospitals, schools, commercial complexes etc. can result in a jail sentence of up to two years or a fine of up to one lakh rupees.
The provisions also include authority with the District Magistrate to declare such buildings as dangerous and seal them. Uttarakhand Fire & Emergency Services, Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Act 20167 provides for these penalties and makes it mandatory to obtain the NOC before operation.
In fact, on 27 April, the fire service started the process of checking NOC and giving training for rescue in the hospitals of the state. A total of 177 big hospitals were included in this campaign. Investigation revealed that only 110 of these have NOC of the fire service.
NOC is also being renewed from time to time. But, 67 big hospitals were found which did not have fire NOC. Among these, there were many that had not renewed NOC for many years. Now notices are being issued to these hospitals by the fire service. Action will also be taken against them if they do not take NOC on time.
It may be recalled that after the amendment from 21st July 2022, as per Section 18 of the Uttarakhand Fire and Emergency Services Fire Prevention and Fire Safety Act 2016, a plan for obtaining fire safety for all such buildings existing or under construction, which are used or are likely to be used for the mentioned activities where people gather, with a height of more than twelve metres and a covered area of more than 500 metres, needs to be submitted to the authorised officers and permission to be obtained. Failure to do so is liable to attract a jail term of up to two years or a fine of up to one lakh rupees or both under Section 21. There will also be a fine of Rs 5,000 per day for continued offence once this fault is detected.
Under Section 18, the buildings for which fire permission is required include buildings which are likely to be used for the treatment or care of persons suffering from physical or mental illness, diseases or weakness, children or the elderly, correctional prisons, shops, markets, dormitories, hotels or houses with well-furnished rooms for rent, educational institutions, assembly halls, recreational, social, religious, patriotic civic tours.
After the amendment of Section 15(4) in 2022, all residential buildings which are twelve meters or more in height and industrial/commercial (covered area more than 500 square metres) which store or use explosive highly flammable substances will have to obtain a No Objection Certificate from the Chief Fire Officer on the recommendation of the Deputy Director (Technical) or the Chief Fire Officer. Violation of this will also attract the same punishment as Section 21.
Under Section 16, the District Magistrate can order the removal of people present in the premises and order sealing of buildings on receiving a report of buildings that appear to be dangerous to life or property. Under Section 23, a person can be punished with a fine of up to five thousand rupees for knowingly giving a false report of fire to the police or fire service.