The Weekend Leader - Mumbai pub blaze: 913 illegal structures razed in 14 days

Mumbai pub blaze: 913 illegal structures razed in 14 days



Continuing its single-biggest drive against illegal constructions after the December 29 Mumbai pub blaze that claimed 14 lives, the BMC has razed a whopping 913 unauthorised structures which could be hazardous in case of a fire, an official said here on Friday.

"The demolished structures include hotels, restaurants, pubs, bakeries, big and small eateries and places where bulk foods are prepared across the city," said an official spokesperson for the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

In the ongoing action on Friday, the demolition squads sealed eight restaurants/ establishments not complying with fire safety norms, illegal constructions were demolished at 52 places and 271 others were warned to comply immediately, besides seizing 197 gas cylinders.

Since December 30 till January 12, the BMC has inspected 2,568 establishments from the fire safety perspective and seized a whopping 1,410 gas cylinders.

The Corporation has issued notices to 718 establishments to carry out necessary fire safety amendments since the tragedy.

The total number of establishments sealed for large-scale irregularities including non-compliance of fire norms has now touched 55, including the eight shut on Friday.

The 52 BMC teams set up for the purpose in 24 divisions include personnel of the Mumbai Fire Brigade, Health Department, Building & Factory Department, who scrutinize construction-related works, entrances-exists, open spaces, etc., and break down illegal doors within the premises.

The BMC's massive drive, termed as "belated" by some, came after a raging inferno in two rooftop pubs -- Mojo's Bistro and 1Above restaurants -- in the Kamala Mills Compound in Lower Parel killed 14 patrons and injured another 55.

In a related incident, Maharashtra Congress's Leader of Opposition Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Friday demanded a probe by the CBI into the pub blaze and suspension of BMC Commissioner Ajoy Mehta.

"The BMC Commissioner has publicly admitted that he has received calls from some politiciaisn pressurizing him to 'go slow' on the illegal constructions drive, but he has not revealed the identity of the callers. The series of fire incidents in the city which claimed many innocent lives are an outcome of the illegalities perpetrated by the BMC," Vikhe-Patil said.

He said a Congress delegation would call on Governor C.V. Rao seeking a CBI probe and suspension of Mehta, failing which he would file a petition in the Bombay High Court. - IANS

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