Tuition centres in Ludhiana must now get NOC according to new fire norms – ET RealEstate

LUDHIANA: Keeping in view the mushrooming of coaching centres in the city, the local bodies department has issued new fire safety norms for these centres to follow. Now, the centres are divided in three categories based on the area, and the owners will have to make arrangements accordingly.

But sources said this may again remain a policy on paper if the authorities do not make an attempt to find out the exact number of tuition centres operating in the city and hold them all equally responsible.

The guidelines are notified and will be implemented in the entire state. The notification is the result of a writ petition that is being heard in Punjab and Haryana high court. Also, after the Surat coaching centre tragedy last year, the authorities were working on to bring some norms for the coaching centres.

The three categories are: coaching centres running in existing shop-cum-office and shop-cum-flat having height less than 15m, those running in standalone commercial complexes/buildings having height not more than 15m and coaching centres running in all other establishments having height more than 15m.

These norms will be applicable with immediate effect and will be implemented by the fire and town planning wings of urban local bodies. The NOC from fire department will have to be obtained by the building owner/occupants within one year for high-rise buildings (15 meters and above) and within six months for buildings having height less than 15 meters from the date of issuance of this notification. Failing which, the coaching centre will be sealed by fire wing/urban local bodies.

However, neither the fire department nor the municipal corporation (MC) have exact data on how many tuition centres are operational in the city. Not only in the commercial areas, even in residential areas many oaching centres have popped up in the recent past. There is single entry/exit in most of the buildings and fire arrangements are also insufficient.

According to the fire department, only big industrial houses, schools, hospitals and big malls are applying for fire NOC. In the last one year, the fire accidents that have occurred are mostly in places that had no fire NOC.

Advisor to Punjab fire department Bhupinder Sandhu, said, “Earlier also fire NOC was mandatory for these coaching centres, but there were no clear cut directions or norms. Now, we have divided the coaching centres in three categories.” He said all the fire officials in the state are sent this information. “Fire NOC will be issued according to new guidelines and if coaching centres or institutes will not get NOC, then local fire officials have been given the powers to seal the centre,” he added.

Meanwhile, requesting anonymity, one of the fire officials claimed that coaching centres are often located in places where changes are not possible — for example, he said, most often there is space for only one entry and exit — and they cannot force the owner to open a second entry/exit. He said these changes are possible in standalone locations only. He said fire department is going through the norms to see how the new rules can be implemented, but he insisted that it may not be possible without the support from town planning wing of the MC.

Required fire safety arrangements

Fire extinguishers required in all types of categories

First-aid hose reel

Automatic sprinkler system

Manually operated electronic fire alarm system

Automatic detection and alarm system

Underground static water storage tank

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AAI awaits land mutation in its name at Halwara before starting airport work – ET RealEstate

LUDHIANA: After getting land mutation of Sahnewal airport in the name of the Airport Authority of India (AAI), the AAI is now ‘waiting’ for mutation of land acquired at Halwara in its name before the start of work. The AAI officials shared that the AAI needs to show some assets in return before it spends hundreds of crores on Halwara international airport.

A senior officer of the AAI in Ludhiana said that they had got the ‘fard’ (revenue document suggesting that land is in their name) suggesting that ownership of land at Sahnewal airport, measuring more than 134 acres which was previously state land, has been transferred in the name of AAI. He added that now they are waiting for mutation of acquired land at Aitiana village in the name of AAI as as per the agreement between the AAI and Punjab government.

“The estimated cost of the Halwara international airport project is between Rs 300-Rs 400 crore. So, if we are spending such large amount of money, we need to have assets in return before investing money. Even as Sahnewal airport land has been mutated in AAI’s name, we are waiting for mutation of land acquired for Halwara international airport in the AAI’s name. We are hopeful that AAI’s headquarters will then provide necessary approval for starting work on the project,” said an AAI officer. “We want the project to start soon as we wish to shift operations to Halwara, which has landing systems that needs less visibility and longer runways at the airforce station.” He added that once the approval would be granted by the AAI’s headquarters, work will start on setting up of terminals, boundary wall of the acquired land, etc.

The district administration officials said that matter was under consideration. “The matter has been referred to the government of Punjab by chief administrator, Glada. It will be transferred once a reply is received,” said DC Varinder Sharma.

Meanwhile, the residents are anxiously waiting for start of work on Halwara airport. “The airport at Halwara can be a big development for an industrial city like Ludhiana as not only the business community, but people from cross sections of society here will benefit. The government should ensure that the work starts on the project soon,” said Vijay Kumar, a city resident.

An official spokesperson had said the project would be implemented through a joint venture company (JVC), which has been formed with the majority stake of 51% of the AAI and 49% of the state government.

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Ludhiana civic body to hold fresh survey of PG facilities, hostels – ET RealEstate

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LUDHIANA: The municipal corporation will soon conduct a fresh survey of paying guest accommodations, migrant quarters and hostels to verify if there is an increase in the number of such properties and their on-rent rooms.

The record of 2012-13 house tax payment shows 3,9541 such properties. But the number does not indicate how many rooms each property has and how many are on rent.

Therefore, the zonal commissioners have been directed to hold surveys, zeroing in on the details, so that property tax at 7.5% could be recovered to help MC tide over financial crisis.

The city is divided into 37 blocks. Tax collectors in these blocks will check all the details and superintendents will be responsible for the information the former collected.

In August, the local bodies department had issued a notification that the owners of PGs, migrant quarters and hostels will have to pay property tax for this financial year at the rate of 7.5% of their annual rent. Even as the MC officials have started the process of serving notices on the owners of such units, verification of old data is under way.

MC commissioner Pardeep Sabharwal said, “The survey is important as we have to ensure all pay property tax. Though we have the number of such properties, there is a need to update the data.”

The last date for availing 10% rebate on property tax, water supply and sewerage dues for this financial year is September 30. As a result, long queues dot Suvidha Centres for clearing the dues. The civic body has decided to keep its offices open on Saturday and Sunday this week, so that maximum people could pay the tax.

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Ludhiana netizens prefer suvidha centres over online payment of property tax – ET RealEstate

LUDHIANA: As the last date to avail 10% rebate on property tax is July 31, huge rush of tax payers is being witnessed at suvidha centres of the Municipal Corporation (MC). Long queues can be seen outside suvidha centres in zonal offices and social distancing norms are also being ignored.

The employees deputed at suvidha centres do not let many people gather inside the premises but people can be seen sitting or standing outside the building in groups. Even in the zonal offices, public are allowed if the temperature is normal and hands are sanitised.

Sources said the rebate on property tax has been extended many times during Covid-19 to give enough chance to the people for clearing pending dues but still people come when last two three days are left.

The officials, however, claimed that people have the option to clear their payments for last and current financial year online, but they somehow prefer to come personally to the suvidha centres and deposit their tax. On Thursday and Friday, more people are expected being last two days.

Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu said, “We have requested people to maintain social distance but they do not listen. We have even asked them not to come to the MC offices and if they have any issues they should drop their grievances in the complaint box, but nobody again listens to such logic.”

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