Visakhapatnam: Over 250 of the 340 hospitals in Vizag city are yet to obtain a fire NOC (no objection certificate), according to sources in the fire service department.
In view of the pandemic, the fire department had conducted a survey to inspect fire safety compliance and served notices to the erring hospitals. They found that COVID-designated hospitals were adhering to fire safety norms. However, many hospitals in the city were treating coronavirus patients without prior permission from the health department.
“In the past few days, 50 hospitals, including 10 dental hospitals, have obtained NOC. But 200 hospitals are yet to respond. We have submitted a report to the government seeking action against these hospitals,’’ said regional fire officer Niranjan Reddy who is in charge of hospitals whose height is less than15 meters. He alleged that hospitals, schools, and function halls were taking advantage of the shortage of manpower in the fire department and violating safety rules.
The Vizag region has about 340 hospitals, including private and government hospitals. Of them only 80 have fire NOC and over 250, including 20 government hospitals, have not obtained the NOC, said Mr. Reddy.
The district fire officer, B. Ram Prakash, said all COVID-designated hospitals, including GITAM, VIMS, Apollo, and Seven Hills, have fire systems that were installed during their construction. “But they need to conduct mock drills and overhaul the system periodically,’’ the DFO said.
Enquiries with the Telangana fire department and Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation officials revealed that 90 per cent of private hospitals in Hyderabad do not have No Objection Certificate.
A senior officer serving with the Directorate Of Enforcement Vigilance & Disaster Management (on condition of anonymity) said, “Inspections revealed that 90 per cent of hospitals have no NOCs and those having, deviated from the building plan. These include the hospitals treating COVID patients in twin cities. Before the lockdown, notices were issued to these hospitals but only a few responded.”
The fire safety department looks into three aspects to issue an NOC, means of escape in case of a fire incident, setback space and fire safety equipment, duly following the Fire Safety Act.
When asked why no action has been taken, the officer explained, “The department is engaged in Covid related activities since the outbreak of the pandemic. A few inspections were conducted and hospitals were sealed. The defects involve repairs and this needs money. Many hospitals delay works for several reasons.”