‘GRILLED’ IN THE BALCONY - DAMNED IF YOU DO DAMNED IF YOU DON’T
Damned if you do damn if you don’t. It is almost standard practice especially on lower floors to have grills to prevent burglaries. Then there are children in the house or pets so the danger of them falling over may also be a concern. But an accidental fire recently has triggered a debate. After a 59-year-old woman and her elderly mother were trapped and killed in a fire that broke out inside their flat in Bengaluru in September, the city civic body, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), has issued a circular to all residential complexes against the installation of safety grilles in balconies and other similar unsafe practices.
In the circular, the BBMP said that all apartment complex residents and owners should adhere to the Building Bye-laws 2003 and National Building Code of India 2016 guidelines.
In this specific case, many demerits of grilling become relevant. It appears, and the fire accident visuals showed as much, one of the victims, Bhagyarekha was screaming for help, but people could not help them owing to the sealed grille in the balcony of the apartment at Devarachikkanahalli. The barricaded balcony also affected the rescue operation by the fire officials who could not gain entry. “Such unsafe practices leading to danger in the construction of the houses will not be permitted. If there is a need for modification at the residential complexes or other buildings, pre-approval must be obtained from BBMP competent authorities,” said BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta.