KOCHI: The lifts/elevators operating in almost half of the residential apartments and commercial complexes in the district do not have the mandatory licence to operate.
While this is undoubtedly a cause for concern, as per the data from four fire stations in the city, as many as 15 incidents of people getting stuck in lifts were reported in the past eight months this year. As many as 20 such incidents were reported last year.
While in the past most such incidents pertained to minor breakdowns which were resolved by the flat staff or residents, now there is an increase in incidents where people get trapped for hours and are rescued with the help of fire and rescue personnel.
The electrical inspectorate and fire force cite lack of maintenance as the reason for the breakdown of lifts. They said 50% of building owners do not renew the mandatory licences every year. As per the details provided by the electrical inspectorate, there were a total of 5,555 lifts in residential and commercial buildings in the district in 2022-23. Only 3,120 of them have renewed their licences.
“A 14-year-old boy got stuck in a lift in a high-rise building in Thiruvankulam recently. As the flat residents could not rescue him, they called us for help. We went there and rescued the boy after unlocking the lift door, which had some technical issues. We asked the residents’ association members to use the lift after repairing it,” said an official at Tripunithura fire station.
Sometimes, the lifts develop a snag when electrical devices, including sensors, get damaged. “Many buildings, especially old ones, fail to renew licence annually. Over time, the pulleys, rope and other devices develop issues. Recently, a few people got injured after an elevator in a building collapsed in Thykoodam. In such cases, we inform local authorities,” said a senior fire force personnel at Gandhinagar fire station.
The licences for lifts are given by the electrical inspectorate wing after site inspection. “We give the licence after ensuring that there is no power disruption and that there is an automatic generator backup system. Moreover, the lifts must have automatic rescue devices to bring people to the nearest floor and to open the door,” said an official with the electrical inspectorate.
“We receive a huge number of requests every year. If we give 100 licences, only 50% of them come for renewal annually. Maintenance and renewal of licence is the responsibility of the consumer,” said an official at the inspectorate in Ernakulam. The licence is issued for three years, and after the first three years, they have to be renewed annually.
Published On Oct 22, 2023 at 06:30 PM IST
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