<table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="467"><tbody><tr valign="top"><td colspan="3">Go-ahead was given for marriage halls, not multiplexes, malls</td></tr> <tr valign="top"><td colspan="3" height="10">
</td></tr> <tr valign="top"><td colspan="3">Express News Service</td></tr> <tr valign="top"><td colspan="3" height="10">
</td></tr><tr valign="top"> <td colspan="3"> Ahmedabad, June 26: Real estate developers in the city sought permission to built marriage halls but instead, constructed multiplexes and malls. The Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) revealed this in reply to a query under RTI filed by a citizen concerned about public safety in malls and multiplexes mushrooming across the city.

Worried that mushrooming malls and multiplexes in the city could spell a great risk to the lives of people visiting them like in the case of Uphaar Cinema tragedy, Memnagar resident Kaushal Vinod Shah took recourse to the RTI Act and asked AUDA to explain how safe was all this booming construction for the general public.

AUDA told him that the three new buildings that have recently come in the city did not have its permission. Replying to Shah’s RTI query, senior town planner in AUDA, H P Shukla, said no such permission has been sought. If at all any permission has been sought, it was for a marriage hall. Before granting permission to such structures, AUDA and Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation carry out inspection of staircases and emergency exits and so on. However, in buildings constructed without their permission, no such inspections are carried out, and neither the authorities nor the fire and emergency officials know whether the norms have been followed or not.

On May 5 this year, AUDA was asked whether builders of Cinemax Multiplex in Dev Arcade of Himalaya Mall on Drive-In Road, R-3 Mall near Manav Mandir and Acropolis on Thaltej Crossroads had taken its permission for constructing these multiplexes, or had submitted necessary maps and drawings to AUDA for approval.

Shah, who filed the queries, said, “A number of multiplexes and malls have been sprung up on Drive In Road and S G Highway. Some have five screens that run house-full during peak hours. I hope this doesn’t turn into a tragedy like what happened at Uphaar Cinema in Delhi several years ago.”

While General Development Control Regulations (GDCR) do not apply to multiplexes since they are not high-rise buildings, they are classified as special structures, which means they are supposed to follow strict fire-safety and public safety norms.

CEO of AUDA, Jagdish Pandya said, “Since malls are low-rise buildings, they do not fall under the ambit of GDCR, which says that fire-safety regulations apply to high-rise buildings. However, we insist that they follow fire safety regulations as they are a special structure.

* Worried that mushrooming malls and multiplexes in city could spell a great risk to the lives of people visiting them like in the case of Uphaar Cinema tragedy, Memnagar resident Kaushal Vinod Shah took recourse to the RTI Act and asked AUDA to explain how safe was all this booming construction for the general public

* AUDA told him that the three new buildings that have recently come in the city did not have its permission. If at all any permission has been sought, it was for a marriage hall



Go-ahead was given for marriage halls, not multiplexes, malls


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