Power cuts are not uncommon in Mumbai anymore, and in fact when the lights go off, lifts in many buildings stop working. No generators for the lifts. That’s what I realised when I visited a friend recently and had to climb almost ten storeys to reach her flat. Well, I do need to reduce my weight but at that time in the afternoon I was feeling least like climbing those flight of stairs. And when I found out that as per the rules of the municipal corporation, a generator was compulsory, I was irritated even further! In fact very few people know that it is mandatory for all high rises to install generators if there are lifts in the building. This requirement is as “per the BMC’s Development Control Rules…and it is the PWD that issues generator certificates to buildings.”
With high rises coming up all over the city, I wonder how many of these actually follow the norms laid down? According to the news report few residents know that generators are compulsory.
And this is not the bad news. The scary part is that consumer groups in Mumbai say that few buildings even follow the safety standards laid down in under the Bombay Lift Act, 1939. The reasons? Well, because there aren’t enough people to check up what the buildings are up to! 😯 Quoting from the news report:

“…there are only about 25 electrical engineers to inspect a total of 40- 45,000 lifts in Mumbai.”


Elevators are supposed to be checked twice a year by the BMC, but thats impossible given the few engineers they have to do the job.
No wonder there are accidents. Around 20 lift-related complaints every year in Mumbai alone. And these are the ones that are reported.

But why talk just of Mumbai? Could the rest of India be any better where safety norms are concerned?

The situation is not different in other places. A Consumer Education & Research Society (CERC) survey conducted in 2006 showed that 40% of the lifts in Ahmedabad operate without renewing their lift licences. According to the Gujarat Lifts & Escalators Act, a licence has to be renewed once every three years, says K K Bajaj, honorary director at CERC.

Well, that’s the reality. Guidelines and rules are being thrown to the winds. Can you blame me if I am a little relieved that I live on the first floor?

(The photo is for representational purposes only)