Taking the demand for a Lift Act in Uttar Pradesh a notch higher, Sunil Sharma, MLA of Sahibabad constituency in Ghaziabad, has written to the state government to initiate action. The letter, addressed to the chief secretary of the UP CM’s office, requested support from the government so a Lift Act could be enacted in the state. A letter in this regard was also sent to UP CM Yogi Adityanath in April 2017.
The demand was initially raised in 2015 by Alok Kumar, a social activist and president of Federation of Apartment Owners Association, or FedAOA, in Ghaziabad. Kumar had filed a PIL at the Allahabad High Court, seeking directions for the state government to formulate and implement regulations for lift and escalator safety.
According to Kumar, the absence of a proper policy for the maintenance and operation of lifts in Uttar Pradesh had jeopardised the safety of residents in residential high-rises. The petition said that UP did not have a clear policy on lifts, despite the neighbouring states of Delhi and Haryana having their own guidelines. Following the PIL, the High Court also sought a response from the principal secretary of UP.
The FedAOA, headed by Kumar, had also formulated a draft for the act, which was shared with the previous Akhilesh Yadav-led government. However, nothing came of it.
The draft suggested that on conviction, the guilty party face imprisonment, which could extend to three months, or be slapped with a fine that may amount to Rs 50,000, or both. The lift or escalator company would also be prosecuted and held liable under this act in the event of an accident owing to the malfunctioning of the lift or the escalator. The draft also suggested the appointment of lift inspectors, who should be informed in case of any lift-related incident. RWAs, AOAs and any other body managing the lifts should cooperate with them.
Several cases of lift-related accidents have been reported from residential high-rises. One of the worst incidents in Ghaziabad involved a 41-year-old woman, who suffered serious injuries to her spine and leg after the lift she was in fell from the 8th floor of a building in Indirapuram. Minor incidents, such as lifts getting stuck with passengers inside for hours, take place every now and then.
Speaking to City Spidey, Alok Kumar said that lift installation, maintenance and quality checks in Uttar Pradesh were so unregulated that they led to various malpractices. “Since there is no quality check, builders use cheaper and poorer-quality lift variants, and more often than not, they are not properly maintained. Due to the absence of regulations, it becomes difficult to hold anyone responsible. There are many societies where builders have not installed service lifts and the general lifts do not have any ARDs, or automatic rescue devices,” Kumar said.
Comparing the situation with neighbouring Delhi, Kumar said that the national capital had lift inspectors and that the lifts there also had certificates that declared details such as maintenance due date. “These details involve human safety and an Act safeguarding these must be enacted as soon as possible. It is good that someone from the current government is raising the issue,” Kumar added.