Bombay High Court first to get disaster management plan

By Arita Sarkar | Mumbai

Rs 2.5-cr plan will be finalised by next month; currently fire extinguishers are available only in certain parts of the court

Bombay High Court. File pic

The Bombay High Court, which has constantly emphasised on the importance of implementing the Disaster Management Act, 2005, over the past few months, will soon be the first court in the city to have its own disaster management plan. The Rs 2.5-crore plan has been formulated by court staff in collaboration with the Fire Brigade, and will be finalised by next month.

With a daily footfall of more than 5,000 people, the High Court located at Fort, currently has a basic evacuation plan, and the exit routes have been put up on each floor. An official from the Public Works Department (PWD) said fire extinguishers are available only in certain parts of the 155-year-old court. But the number of fire extinguishers has recently been increased to cover the entire court complex.

Fire alarm system to be set up
A court staffer said the plan will also involve setting up a fire alarm system. "We came up with the plan with the help of Fire Brigade officials, and shared it with the civic body's disaster management department. We sent the plan to the state government around three to four months ago and it will be finalised in a month," said the official.
Fire Department officials had made certain recommendations including smoke and heat detectors and sprinklers. "While we have made our recommendations, the Bombay High Court is a heritage structure, and we will have to adhere to norms while implementing the plan," said a fire official.

The plan also includes setting up a Disaster Cell, which will be equidistant from the HC, Mantralaya and the Vidhan Sabha. "Officials at the cell will monitor and coordinate relief efforts for all three government buildings," said an official from the court administration. The official added that once the plan is implemented, they will carry out a drill. The decision to have a disaster management plan was taken two years ago.

Plan for other courts
When asked about similar plans for other city courts, none of which currently have a disaster management plan, another official from the court administration said, "The Bombay High Court is the first in the city to have a disaster management plan. In past meetings with state government officials, there have been discussions of sending the finalised plan to all 50-odd courts in Mumbai, so that they can customise a plan for them."

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