Hyderabad: The long-standing logjam between the Disaster Response and Fire Services Department and the Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited over fire permission for Metro stations came to an end with the fire department finally giving the go ahead to seven of the stations between Nagole and Mettuguda on Wednesday.
For nearly three years, the department had claimed that the construction of stations do not conform to the National Building Code (NBC) to which the Fire Services Act is totally adhered to. It had even issued notices to the HMRL directing a change in design of the stations.
On the other hand, the Hyderabad Metro Rail (HMR) have been sticking to the Delhi Metro Act 2002. The Union government in 2012 had even issued a gazette notice extending the Delhi Metro Act to the HMR’s construction here. The issue of fire permission, however, was kept hanging till the Telangana government issued a GO in favour of the HMR three months ago.
Now, the fire authorities have granted permission to the HMR which has adhered to the National Fire Protection Association standards, a code followed in the United States of America. “The issue is that of exit routes in case of a fire accident in an overhead station. NBC says the exit should be within six metres from one end of the station platform and that there should be two such exits on both sides of the station, but here we have it about 30 metres away. Inspections were held last year and permissions were denied,” said a senior fire department official.
Speaking for his side, NVS Reddy, managing director, HMRL, said: “The issue has been resolved as authorities are satisfied with the fire precautions in place. We have stuck to NFPA which is a set of international guidelines and tougher than NBC.” Moreover, all metro rails including Delhi metro rail follows NFPA, he added. According to him, the decisions were taken at the highest level of governance and thus does not involve any bypass of rules. The process of sanctioning fire permission for rest of the stations are to be started soon.