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NMMC launches investigation into private hospitals’ fire safety norms violations

The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) is scrutinizing structural modifications done by private hospitals and failure to adhere to the fire safety norms very closely.

The fire department, NMMC recently issued a notice to the Vashi-based Cloudnine hospital for maternity and pediatric care, to submit the permissions from town planning to undertake structural modifications. In the notice issued on January 31, it is further said to cancel the No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the fire department on failing to provide the relevant documents.

The concerns regarding the alleged modifications were raised with the fire department by the health cell of Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

“During the site inspection it was observed that there were multiple changes made internally of the premises used by the hospital which were not matching as per the approved floor plan. The changes were found to be violating the provisions of Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety measure Act 2006 and 2009. A Notice was issued seeking permission from the town planning department to undertake the structural changes,” said the fire officer Purushottam Jadhav.

Fire department has identified a total of six prominent changes within the hospital. Details of the alleged violations were intimated to both the encroachment and health department of NMMC on February 1.

The hospital operates within five commercial units on the ground, first and second floor of Palm Beach Galleria Mall, sector 19 D, Vashi.

“It was found that the fire corridor on the second floor was not as per the approved floor plan. Even the balcony adjacent to the fire corridor was modified and there were structural changes done internally in the floors for which permissions are needed from the town planning department. Even with regards to fire safety, the exit doors were not functioning both ways. Balconies adjoining every patient room facing the road too were not as per the original plan,” pointed the fire officer.

The recently formed health cell of NCP has begun assimilating documents of similar violations in other private hospitals and seeking probe from authorities. “We have a list of over 30 odd private hospitals that have violated various norms purely for commercial gains. In case of Cloudnine, the violations are of grave nature as in case of a fire outbreak, and the patients will be affected. Even the bare minimum of having an independent staircase for patients to exit other than those provided by the mall is missing. Spaces to be used as fire corridors are converted into office cabins,” said the president of the health cell, Tushar Kachare.

Deputy Municipal Commissioner (DMC) Encroachment Dr Rahul Gethe said the civic body will take action as per tthe legal procedure. Medical officer Health P. Jawade was not available for comment.

A Cloud Nine hospital spokesperson said “Members from NCP MEDICO namely Tushar Kachare, Nitin Chavan, claiming affiliation to major political party, approached us demanding that they be awarded our labor contracts. Having operated our hospital for the past eight years in Navi Mumbai, we cannot succumb to such outrageous demands. Members from NCP MEDICO have threatened us, stating that if we do not yield to their demands, they will lodge complaints against us. This malicious complaint with NMMC is in line with the above. We will address this complaint directly with NMMC and resolve. We refuse to be coerced or intimidated by this extortion and threats.”

“At Cloudnine, we prioritize compliance above all else, and our track record speaks for itself as we’ve successfully operated 29 hospitals across 12 cities. We find our strength in our customers – the support of the multitude of mothers with over 10,000 residing in Navi Mumbai. Their unwavering trust and blessings fuel our determination.” the hospital said.

The party has refuted the hospital’s allegations levelled as tactics to divert from the matter. “The concern of the health cell is about the violations done with regards to fire safety. The notice by Nmmc to terminate their NOC further validates our concern. The allegations are outrightly false and baseless whereas we have proofs to the violations ,” said Kachare. Hindustan Times

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