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Sunday, Oct 17, 2021
Outlook.com

Up In Flames

The neglect of basic safety norms is endangering highly inflammable heritage structures- and their occupants

Up In Flames
Up In Flames
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

FOR occupants of heritage structures, the message is clear: death could be just a short-circuit away. With monsoons around the corner and no exposure to fire-fighting systems or fire drills, it's a warning that the occupants can ill afford to ignore. Witness the fire on the second floor of the 200-year-old General Post Office (GPO) building last fortnight. While no one was killed, the roof was burnt down and valuable records on the premises of the chief post-master general and the postal services director were destroyed. 

The busy Fort area in South Bombay, housing over 30 per cent of Bombay's heritage buildings, has stood witness to towering infernos—the gutting of the Alice Building, Handloom House, Jhulelal Mansion, Raj Bahadur Mansion and the Erach Shaw Building even as late as 1994.

"Public heritage buildings or those which house institutions have better security systems. The owners look after their own premises if not the entire building. The problem lies with private buildings—where the old Rent Act has made it impossible...

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