Bengaluru: Balconies in apartments can’t be closed or modified, BBMP says after fire accident

In the circular, the BBMP said that all apartment complex residents and owners should adhere to the Building Bye-laws 2003 and National Building Code of India 2016 guidelines.

After a 59-year-old woman and her elderly mother were trapped and killed in a fire that broke out inside their flat in Bengaluru Tuesday, the city civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), has issued a circular to all residential complexes against the installation of safety grilles in balconies and other similar unsafe practices.

In the circular, the BBMP said that all apartment complex residents and owners should adhere to the Building Bye-laws 2003 and National Building Code of India 2016 guidelines.

According to the police, the fire accident visuals showed one of the victims, Bhagyarekha, screaming for help, but people could not help them owing to the sealed grille in the balcony of the apartment at Devarachikkanahalli. The barricaded balcony also affected the rescue operation by the fire officials.

BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said that after obtaining the Commencement Certificate (CC) and Occupancy Certificate (OC), covering the balcony, modifying them or having additional structures is against the guidelines.

“Such unsafe practices leading to danger in the construction of the houses will not be permitted. If there is a need for modification at the residential complexes or other buildings, pre-approval must be obtained from BBMP competent authorities,” Gupta added.

On Tuesday evening, 82-year-old Lakshmi Devi and her daughter Bhagya Rekha (59) died after a fire broke out inside their apartment. Although police suspect a cylinder blast as the cause of the fire, a Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team which visited the place Wednesday to collect samples is yet to conclude their report. The team is also probing short circuits that might have led to the fire.

Rekha’s husband Bheem Sen (64), who was injured in the incident, is under treatment in a hospital.

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