The Delhi High Court has sought the response of civic bodies, the fire department and an association of flat owners and occupants of the Antriksh Bhawan, where two fires broke out this month, on a plea seeking removal of a mobile tower from the building. The two fires had broken out on May 3 and May 10 at the Parikrama restaurant which is atop the building owned by the Ansal Group, which also owned the Uphaar Cinema where a fire had claimed 59 lives in 1997.
In the Antriksh Bhawan, located at Kasturba Gandhi Marg here in Central Delhi, the terrace area has been encroached by the mobile tower and its generator and other heavy equipment, petitioner Rohit Jain claimed.
In his plea, filed through advocate Rohit Madan, Jain contended that the open terrace has been earmarked as a refuge area as per the sanctioned building plan.
According to the petitioner, he had made queries to the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and the fire department under the Right to Information Act on whether any refuge area was earmarked on the sanctioned building plan and if permission was obtained from the authorities prior to setting up the mobile tower.
In response to his queries, the NDMC had said no refuge area was earmarked on the building plan and that permission was granted to Idea Cellular to set up the mobile tower.
In contrast, the fire department said a refuge area was marked in the plan and that no permission was sought from it for installing the mobile tower on the terrace.
The fire department had also said that mobile towers or any other equipment cannot be installed in the refuge area.
“The aforementioned reply of the Fire Department clearly shows that there exists an apparent safety hazard in Antriksh Bhawan as at present, the refuge area of the building is illegally encroached by towers, generators and diesel storage tanks of the mobile companies leaving little or no open space in case of an emergency,” the plea said.
It also sought quashing the permission granted by the NDMC to the telecom companies for erecting mobile towers in the refuge area and removal of the other encroachments there.
An electrical short-circuit was suspected to have been the reason behind the fires at the Antriksh Bhawan, the fire department had said.
The building was evacuated and no casualty or injury to anyone was reported.