More Than 50,000 Buildings in Gujarat Are Without Fire NOC: State Govt to HC

The state government's reply comes after a PIL was moved by advocate Amit Panchal over the fire tragedy in the Shrey Hospital, which claimed lives of eight COVID-19 patients.

New Delhi: The Gujarat government on Wednesday informed the Gujarat high court that more than 50,000 buildings in the state are without mandatory fire no objection certificate (NOC) and building use (BU) permission, the Times of India reported.

In an affidavit, deputy secretary of urban development and urban housing department, R.H. Vasava, stated that despite various legislations in place for fire safety, as many as 58,000 buildings across the state still do not have a valid fire NOC.

There are a total 33,274 buildings in Gujarat which do not have BU permissions, of which 25,910 are municipality buildings, 1,489 structures in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), 2,335 in Surat civic body area, 1,009 in Vadodara and 1,640 in Rajkot city, the report said, quoting the affidavit.

The state government’s reply comes after a public interest litigation (PIL) was moved by practising advocate at the Gujarat high court Amit Panchal, over the fire tragedy in the Shrey Hospital. The incident that happened in August last year claimed lives of eight COVID-19 patients. The advocate had demanded proper implementation of the fire safety laws.

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In Ahmedabad, although all the schools have obtained fire NOC, six hospitals have still not obtained it, the report said. More than 15,000 factories and industrial units are also without fire NOC. This is after some major fire incidents reported in industrial areas around the city.

A major fire incident last year in November at a chemical unit near Pirana in Ahmedabad claimed about a dozen lives, including five women. Following the incident, the state government made it mandatory for all factories to obtain an NOC from the fire department before applying for a licence under the Factory Act, 1948.

Gujarat’s apex industry body, the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, last year had sought the validity of a fire NOC be extended to five years, the Times of India reported. Currently, it is valid for only one year. The report also added that the Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services receives an estimated 1,300 calls in a year, with at least 30% of the calls from industrial units.